Better Groceries for Less Cash
101 Tested & Proven Ways to Save on Food

By Randall Putala © 2008

Copyright © 2008 by Randall Putala All rights reserved For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to Permissions c/o SDMI, 5010 Linbar Drive, Suite 130, Nashville, TN 37211. www.grocerysavings.us Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Putala, Randall Better Groceries for Less Cash / Randall Putala ISBN 978-0-9777106-0-7. Printed in the United States of America Book design by John Hreha

Cards & Counterintelligence Chapter 10: The Power of Rebate Clubs. Real Cooking Chapter 15: A System for Cooking = A System for Savings Chapter 16: Quick-Cooking: The Secret to Happier. Coupon Litmus Test Chapter 9: Clubs. Healthier Meals Chapter 17: Planning Your Menus Chapter 18: Miscellaneous Cost Cutters Chapter 19: Online Coupon Hunting Chapter 20: Grocery Store Etiquette Chapter 21: Miscellaneous Time-Saving / Money-Saving Tips Closing Notes Glossary Savings Examples 4 7 9 13 19 23 33 49 59 61 71 77 81 83 89 93 97 103 123 129 135 139 143 144 146 . aka “Your Check’s in the Mail” Chapter 11: A Rebate Returned is Money Earned Chapter 12: The Economics of Food Chapter 13: Smart Grocery Choices & Core Ingredients Chapter 14: Real Food.Contents Foreword Chapter 1: What Color is Your Shopping Cart? Chapter 2: The “7 Deadly Sins” Chapter 3: Here’s Your Sign Chapter 4: The “12 Steps to Recovery” Chapter 5: The Myths & Misconceptions of Store Coupons Chapter 6: Strategy & Tactics: How to Win the War for Your Wallet Chapter 7: Couponing Tactics: The Simplest Way To Organize Coupons Chapter 8: The Currency vs.

Yet these very same consumers who spend countless hours scheming and negotiating to get the best deal on their new car. They'll print out comparison reports from the internet. I'm buying from you". I won't accept them. And based on the way most people view food shopping. The salesman looks stunned. Most people pride themselves on getting the absolute best deal on a new car. I don't care that the dealership down the street offers a lower price." The salesman recovers his wits and is delighted by his good fortune. Without blinking an eyelash now. it’s not that far removed from the everyday reality that most people experience in their grocery store. But as you’ll see in the pages of this book.Foreword A man walks into a car dealership. he replies. but the man goes on: "And don't even try to give me a better deal. No freebies or add-ons. concocting elaborate schemes to 'work the sales person down'. probably never stop to scrutinize the details of their grocery receipts. it’s not really as absurd as you might think. they'll even threaten to walk out of the dealership if they don't get the concessions they want. whether it is competitive or not. "I want to buy your finest vehicle and I'll pay the full sticker price. He says to the salesman. of course you're correct. Are groceries the new “high ticket items” of our current economy? Just look at your 4 . "my last customer took out a 5 year extended warranty. But I do want your sworn assurance that nobody – absolutely nobody – will pay more than me for the identical vehicle. I'm assuming that you'll want the 10 year warranty. That’s because most people view food shopping as an entirely different process than shopping for other items – especially high-ticket items. call every dealership in a 50 mile radius – heck. for a purchase made once every five or six years that immediately loses about 10% of its value when you drive it off the lot. correct?" If you're thinking this scenario is a little farfetched. All this.

if your money grows on trees or you discover the secret of alchemy. it's pretty much a one-time investment. Sure. Just maybe you don't carry a money clip with a wad of $100 bills. They can ridicule the coupon-clippers and laugh that they tip more than that to the valet parkers at their country club. yet most people are PROUD to pay full price for everything from produce to pizza pies to polka-dot party plates. a new car can last you many years with a bit of regular maintenance. perhaps. But the same people who will drive 5 miles out of their way to save a nickel on gasoline. "You'll Pay More – And LIKE It". or "Why Pay Less When We Can Charge You More?" Of course. They represent 15% to 20% of most household budgets. week in and week out. you probably don't need to clip coupons.40% – even 50% off your grocery bill.000 or more per year. like clockwork. as if they couldn't use an extra $1.000 or $50. and you’ll get the answer immediately. "I'm not poor!" they insist. take a deep breath and relax: this book is for you. It’s no big deal for someone like that to dismiss the $40. that you’re NOT that guy. Welcome to the bizarre world of economics 101. If so. You see. and happy savings! 5 . and just maybe you would enjoy saving $100 or $200 per month. I'm being facetious. will shudder at the thought of clipping grocery coupons. I really will show you how to enjoy savings of 30% .000 in savings they could enjoy over the course of their life. enjoy. But groceries are bought every single week of every single year. And at the end of the day. Does this make any sense to anybody??? Imagine the headlines if we had 'truth in advertising' and the grocery stores were forced to follow it: "Nobody Soaks You Better".receipts. put this book down immediately and go count your Krugerrands! I’m guessing. Is this you? Do you light your cigars with $100 bills? Do you consider yourself the equal of the guy in the ‘Monopoly” game with the monacle and the bow tie? If so. and I really can show you how to do it. Read.

just breeze through the “101 Big Ideas” to remember how to get back on track.Randall Putala Author P.S. If you find yourself drifting back into old habits. refer to these time and again for a quick 'refresher course' to help you save money throughout your lifetime. 6 . I've listed my "101 Big Ideas" at the end of each chapter to summarize the key points.

highest price. just give me the makings of a quick meal and I'm out of here. I'M IN A HURRY. Let me compare the prices of each item on the shelf. I'll easily pay only a FRACTION of what most others pay and my family will probably be 7 . advertising campaign. I'll be out of here in no time. I'm going to select the finest core ingredients and plan my meals as I go based on the best deals I find in my store today. 3. OUT OF MY WAY. or position on the shelf ). I'll buy whatever is in front of me or whatever catches my eye today. I can find some other area of my life to cut costs – maybe. but it's just not possible with my schedule. I've planned out my shopping trip to cut my in-store time to a minimum. let's determine what type of grocery shopper you are at present. I WANT THE BEST STUFF. I may end up with all the wrong stuff and I'm not sure if I'm getting a good deal. I'M IN A HURRY. Let me grab the highest-quality items on the shelf (based on brand name. I'd like to save money. JUST GIVE ME SOMETHING TO EAT. I want the best for my family and I'll buy it even if I can't afford it. AND I'M CHOOSY. Time is not as important to me as saving money. I've got a family to feed. 5. I'M CHOOSY. LET ME COMPARE. I've reviewed my store's sales flyer in advance and selected the special deals and coupons I'm going to use. Which of the following grocery shoppers best describes you? 1. AND I'M FRUGAL. but at least I'm bringing home something edible.Chapter 1: What Color is Your Shopping Cart? Before we discuss ways to save money at the grocery store. 4. I'M IN A HURRY. I'M LOST. and pick the cheapest one. I'm too busy. Let me grab the most expensive fruits and vegetables and the most expensive precooked items at the deli counter. 2. I'll save 30% or more on my groceries.

a first-names-only group for people who habitually pay too much for their groceries. It’s very important. So do it. and you will lower your food costs. If that paragraph didn’t resound like a fire alarm in your brain. The MINDSET you bring into the grocery store is what determines the amount you will pay for your food. because this means you've acknowledged the problem and are willing to take action to change it. It's that simple. But you CAN CONTROL your mindset about the items you will need to prepare your meals and hence you CAN CONTROL the items you put into your cart. our therapy starts with the MINDSET you carry with you into the store. and you'll lower your food costs. Change your mindset. It's that simple. please read it again. Wouldn't you like to be in that final group? Welcome to the first meeting of "Grocery Shoppers Anonymous". Here. Now.eating better and healthier food than theirs. You CANNOT CONTROL the prices that the grocery store charges you. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 1 BIG IDEA 1: The MINDSET you bring with you into the grocery store is what determines the amount you will pay for your food. Change your mindset. It's a very good sign that you're willing to attend today's meeting. 8 .

A budgeting problem is hardly ever managed by reducing the AMOUNT of food you bring home. or pantry months after the fact. you probably have a troupe of unhappy campers and it's your job as the conscientious and devoted parent you are to address this problem.Chapter 2: The "7 Deadly Sins" (Signs that you may be losing the "grocery game") 1. High grocery expenses. If you often find one of your kids standing in front of the refrigerator shouting. Are you experiencing these symptoms? a. 3. Insufficient food supply. you're probably suffering from an insufficient food supply. A strategy like this does not make for happy campers and is rarely sustainable. b. c. they're a good indication that you are purchasing the wrong items – or 9 . 4. If this is the case. or is it OUT OF CONTROL? 2. you have items that disappear as soon as you bring them home. If any of these symptoms apply to the food situation in your home. Keep your receipts for one month. Unhappy campers. Add up the total of all your grocery purchases. Conversely. Does your family ever politely suggest that your menu choices somehow fail to live up to their expectations? (Or perhaps they throw their full plates into the sink and yell "this food #*!)@"</&#s!"). If the food that you thought you needed is still in your fridge. d. You never seem to get around to cooking the items you purchase. This is also known as spending too much on not enough. Uneaten goods. What percent of your family's take-home monthly income is going towards food? Is it reasonable. Everyone is different. you may not be making smart choices for your family. "there's nothing to eat". and everyone likes different things from time to time. You get significant complaints whenever you serve the items you purchase. and they sometimes go bad before you realize it. You have items that you never seem to run out of. freezer.

You're cooking too much food. Do you routinely throw a significant amount of food in the trash or down the drain? This means one of two things: a. keep reading.the wrong quantities of items – for your family's needs. Excessive leftovers. 5. Binge snacking. You're cooking the wrong stuff. But something made you want to take that action. so you did. You may not even know WHY you put it in your cart. 7. Sometimes the items that looked so good at the store cause palpitations when you see what you actually paid for them. Your family just isn't "into" to the food you're cooking. b. It's important to correct this type of eating disorder early-on – and this book can help you. The TV commercials you watch and the magazine ads you read are designed by food manufacturers to steer you away from cooking fresh foods and steer you toward buying their the high-priced pre-mixed concoctions. or you're making too many different dishes during a given time frame. so you put it in your cart. but few people notice it.) The primary job of grocery store marketers is to make you believe that you NEED their product to adequately feed and appease your family. "how could you pay $X for THAT?" You probably don't want to admit that you didn't check the price in the first place. You can adequately feed a family of 5 for a few dollars if you select the right foods and recipes. and your budget will 10 . Are frequent snacks replacing meal times in your household? Do your kids skip the meals you cook only to wolf down an entire bag of chips at midnight? Eating the wrong kinds of food – at the wrong times – in the wrong quantities – can very quickly translate into serious health problems. There is a HUGE disconnect between this premise and the reality of the situation. Your cooking proportions are too large. (More on this subject later in the book. item by item. Your significant other might even weigh in with their opinion. It just looked good at the time. Steer yourself back to the basics. 6. Have you ever come home from the grocery store and really looked at your receipt? I mean more than just glancing at it – I mean reading it line for line. Sticker shock.

Is your income rising to keep pace? If not. but remember that in today's economy you're going to have to work harder JUST TO STAY EVEN.thank you for it. you'll all be happier and healthier. or find a way to buy more for less. 11 . the print ads in your magazines. Re-program your brain to ignore these messages and rely on your own common sense to buy core ingredients instead. are all geared toward getting you to FORGET about cooking fresh and rely on pre-mixed. If you can learn a few simple techniques to stretch your food budget and allow them to eat BETTER. expensive meals. you either have to sacrifice some of the things you currently enjoy. prebagged. BIG IDEA 3: Your family is not going to be willing to eat LESS. it doesn't matter what you're buying or what you're cooking: something is significantly wrong in your relationship with food. The second choice may seem a little painful at first. BIG IDEA 4: If your garbage disposal consumes more food than your family. and even the signs in the grocery store. pre-cooked. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 2 BIG IDEA 2: Grocery prices are rising faster than just about any other commodity in your life. BIG IDEA 5: The TV commercials you watch.

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Chapter 3: Here’s Your Sign
Let’s take a closer look at each of the 5 classic shopper types, and how grocery store owners attempt to extract the most possible cash out of each of your wallets – i.e. how each of your may be losing “the grocery game.” 1. "OUT OF MY WAY, I'M IN A HURRY". You just got off work. Latchkey kid #1 is at his friend's house waiting for you to get home. Sports jock kid #2 is due back from baseball practice in 45 minutes. Workaholic hubby gets home in about an hour. All three are expecting a good dinner, meticulously prepared by tender, loving you. Your approach: "GET OUT OF MY WAY, GALS, OR I'LL MOW YOU DOWN!" You're zooming through the aisles snagging boxes and cans of anything that looks fast and edible that will pacify the hungry mob at home. Saving money on groceries is just about the furthest thing on your mind. Until you balance the checkbook later that week. Uh-oh. "How did we spend $900 on groceries last month? That's UN-BEE-LEEVABLE! What, do you not check the prices? Don't you ever buy things on sale?" Here are some tips exclusively for this shopper type: a. BLOCK IT. Create a 'block' of recipes and ingredients that you can fall back on. I recommend buying a small pocket-sized spiral book. Write down the simple recipes for meals you know your family will eat. List the ingredients you'll need. Divide this notebook into 6 sections and highlight the bottom with a marker to create visual tabs for quick reference: i. Main Courses. List the simple things your family will eat like Sloppy Joes, Hamburgers, Casserole, Chicken Fingers, etc. ii. Side Dishes. List things like Macaroni & Cheese, Baked Potatoes, Vegetable Medley, Au Gratin Potatoes, etc. iii. Snacks. List simple recipes you can make to pacify the hungry mob at odd hours of the day, things like Caramel Corn, Potato Skins, Nachos, Sandwiches, Fruit Salads, etc.
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b. REPLACE IT. Use these blocks of recipes to purchase core ingredients at the store, INSTEAD of the bags of pre-mixed / precooked items you've been buying. As you build your list of substitute recipes, you'll slowly wean yourself away from buying the higherpriced items. Add to your list of recipes by browsing the web. Buy some cheap cookbooks at yard sales, or check some out from the library. Keep adding to your list of recipes. If the family hates it, tear the sheet out of your notebook. If they love it, put a star by it. The more you document your cooking successes and failures, the more you'll save. By writing down the things you learn in the kitchen – whether from a recipe, a book, or simple experimentation – the more you'll learn about how to both please your family with better recipes, and save on the ingredients that make up those recipes. You cannot rely on your memory to remember 'how you did it last time', but you can rely on your own notes. 2. I'M CHOOSY. LET ME COMPARE. If you're a slow and steady shopper but you just can't seem to save money, this description fits you to a T. You compare prices closely: The name-brand item is 99¢, and the off-brand is 89¢. So you buy the off-brand, thinking you're saving money. Not necessarily! If you had clipped a coupon from the Sunday paper for 25¢ off the name-brand item, your grocer would have doubled it, saving you 50¢ on the name-brand item. Final cost = 49¢ for the name-brand item vs. 89¢ for the off-brand item. You would have just reduced your cost of that item by almost 45%! Suggestions for this category of shopper: a. CLIP IT. Clip coupons for every conceivable item you might buy at the store. You're already good at comparing prices. Factor in the power of coupons; it can really impact your budget. b. COMPARE IT. If you're good at reviewing ingredients, compare the cost of buying the fresh ingredients vs. buying the premixed items. For example, if you like the convenience of frozen bagged dinners, consider buying larger portions of each key ingredient, and then chopping down and bagging your OWN version of the premixed dinners. You can prepare 5 or 10 meals in a single afternoon, and lower your cost of each meal by 50% or more!

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3. I'M IN A HURRY, AND I'M CHOOSY. This type of shopper is both finicky and non-frugal. You're the grocery manager's dream customer. They place the most expensive and appealing items at the end caps of the aisles and in the aisle bins, knowing you'll like the look of these particular selections and won't consider the alternatives or the lower-priced items. You are perhaps the hardest nut to crack in the grocery savings game. The best advice I can give you is as follows: a. PORTION CONTROL. Continue to buy the premium ready-made foods your family loves; just buy less of it Make allnatural side dishes to add depth to your meal, while reducing costs. b. MEAL FILLERS. Add items to your menu that are fast, easy, and economical to cook. Put these on the plate along with smaller portions of the premium foods. This way your family fills up on healthy foods – just not the most expensive healthy foods. For example, let's say you typically bring home about $50 worth of Sushi to make a quick dinner for your crew. Try buying $15 worth of Sushi, but add side dishes such as rice with gravy, rice cakes topped with cream cheese and a small dollop of caviar (see, you can upgrade and still save money!) Or how about some celery pieces filled with tuna fish salad on the side? If you're creative, you can fill out the plate with lower-cost items that complement your original menu choices just fine. c. CHANGE THE SOURCE OF THE SAME FOOD YOU SERVE. For example, if you buy take-out Chinese once a week and spend $50 on one meal, consider buying $10 worth of Chinese food and adding some side dishes that you cook at home. One food manufacturer, everyone's favorite uncle, makes a fast-cooking preseasoned rice mix in foil pouches. There are always 2-for-1 deals at the store, and frequently there are coupons for this item in the Sunday paper. It means that you can get real deals on this product. It's fast to cook, and it's delicious. Plus, you'll end up paying 25¢ or so per portion vs. $2.00 per portion for rice from the Chinese take-out place. You don't have to give up the f ine foods you know and love. To save money, simply buy less of the premium meal items and prepare valuebased side dishes to supplement the main food selections. If you plan

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Containment is the key word here. The best bets to get you on a more logical course in your grocery store visits are: a. Keep it simple. small steps to organize your shopping trips. If this works. Chances are you feel pretty hopeless when it's time to grocery shop. Work on learning to cook individual items really well. If you actually enjoy wandering around the grocery store like a lost helium balloon. If you can find coupons in the Sunday paper for some of the things you like. 8 minutes. Poke holes in potato with fork ii. 4. you should be pretty open to new suggestions. really. "5 breakfast items". and stop there. MASTER SOME SIMPLE FOOD ITEMS. change it to 7 minutes. write down the steps: i. if you're trying to bake a potato in your microwave. clip them out and put them in an envelope. that will turn out perfectly. I'M LOST. Isn't that a great feeling? 16 . all is not lost. Take really. and keep a small spiral binder to note down what you've learned. Rest assured. Next. though. closely followed by completion of your assigned task. REALLY. If you need more time. If you are this type of shopper. etc. the variety will make your meals healthier and enhance your main items as well. Try to get to the point that you're reaching your goal of the number of items in each category. For example. Wet the potato with running water iii. you may a problem. Make a simple list by category. START SMALL. great. try cooking 2 potatoes at once. Cook for 5 minutes on high. You now have detailed notes that you can read anytime you plan to make a baked potato.these side dishes carefully. you're building your own cookbook of things that you know you can cook. Sprinkle it with sea salt iv. As you master each new step. and write down notes for this. writing down how many items you'll need that week from each category. until you get it absolutely right. like "3 meat items". JUST GIVE ME SOMETHING TO EAT. as well as the things you did that DIDN'T work. Be specific and write down the things you did that worked. etc. b. You're really more of an open slate and one of the easiest to set on the right course.

By writing down the things you learn in the kitchen – whether by recipe. I'M IN A HURRY. When your 'total savings' amount is $50. and then doing those same things next time you cook.000 raise at work.500 or more per year on groceries. The reason it looks so effortless on TV is because cooking is really very simple. Get cheap.27 – he's kind of wondering what you did. If you mentally prepare yourself to reach this level. But with at least 70% of your shopping cart items. and stay cheap. down. Since these are 'after tax' savings – it is like getting a $5.500 – $3. It just takes practice to know what works. while kind of ticked off at how long the cashier took to scan all of your coupons. and you won't always have a coupon for them or an alternative lower-cost option. was fascinated watching the 'amount due' total going down. down. down. 5. the more you'll save. chock full of the finest foods in the store. The tips and techniques outlined in this book will be like manna in the desert: you're ready to shop. $70 or more – and his 'total savings' amount is $2.Trial and error in the kitchen can be a valuable thing and it will help you determine what works for you. You can experience this every week – year-in and year-out – so you are literally saving $2. $60. you CAN do better if you just review your options. Some items will be necessities. The guy in line behind you. Approach the grocery store with a mission in mind: to show the maximum amount of savings on your receipt at the end of the trip.000 – $3. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 3 BIG IDEA 6: The more you document. or simple trial & error – the more you'll learn about how to both please your family 17 . Imagine being able to wheel your cart out of the supermarket. AND I'M CHEAP. I WANT THE BEST STUFF. You'll waste a lot of food and put up with unhappy diners every now and again – but use recipes and cook books to help get you 'in the ballpark'. Watch the cooking shows on TV to see how professional chefs do things. The checkout clerk and bag boy were amazed at how little you paid for so much food. book. you're ready for the master class. It will make you think about each of your selections and how they will affect your total.

you CAN do better if you just review your options. Use recipes and cook books to help get you 'in the ballpark' of cooking success before you get started. BIG IDEA 8: You don't have to give up on the fine foods your family craves. or an alternative lower-cost selection to make. But you'll waste a lot of food and have unhappy and unfed diners who won't appreciate your efforts.with better recipes. the variety will make your meals healthier and enhance the enjoyment of your main items. and you won't always have a coupon for it. and you can prepare an entire month's worth of meals in a single afternoon. It will make you think about each one of your selections and how they will affect your total. BIG IDEA 7: Want the convenience of 'single bag / single pan' cooking? Mix your own freezer bags full of core ingredients in advance. and stay cheap. Some items will be necessities. To save money. but you can rely on your own notes. simply buy less of them and prepare value-based side dishes to supplement your main food selections. 18 . and document it so you can continue to build on your simple successes in the kitchen. Learn what works for you. Watch the cooking shows on TV to see how they do things. BIG IDEA 9: Trial and error in the kitchen can be a valuable thing and help you determine what works for you. You cannot rely on your memory to remember 'how you did it last time'. The reason it looks so effortless to them. and save on the ingredients that make up those recipes. is because cooking is really very simple. But with at least 70% of your shopping cart items. If you plan these side dishes carefully. Approach the grocery store with a mission in mind: to show the maximum amount of savings on your receipt at the end of the trip. BIG IDEA 10: Get cheap.

you tend to get what you've always gotten. you're probably going to be aware that some of the items that regularly appear in your shopping cart are perhaps not the best choices. It can be a big help. Your second step on the road to recovery involves believe that you actually can pay less for your groceries. your mental attitude. and what experiences in the past are causing you to make these purchases over and over again. Seriously.Chapter 4: The “12 Steps to Recovery” If you are a candidate "Grocery Shoppers Anonymous". you've got to be prepared to try new things.. If you do what you've always done. Change is all about visualization at this early stage. Once you've taken a closer look at your groceries. Write down how they make you feel. seek professional counseling. If you don’t understand why you do the things you do. Stand by this realization. If you don't think you have a problem (or won't admit it) you won't get anywhere. Step 4 – Reflect. and what they are doing to your health. Take a close look at your mental relationship with food and your family's groceries. Make yourself accept it. You don't have to eat foods you don't like but you've at least got to try out new things once in a while.) Step 1 – Acknowledge. If you're currently paying $200 per week. write down the individual items that you think are causing the problem. and your weight. Step 3 – Be Flexible. Step 5 – Affirm. You must first of all admit that you need help cutting your grocery costs. If you still don’t understand the connection. Once you've uncovered the current negatives 19 . Step 2 – Believe. visualize yourself paying $100. Once you can visualize the change you want. What is REALLY going on here…? How do you really feel about food? Examine your motives for buying the types of food you buy. here is a list of the 12 steps on the road to recovery (with my apologies to every real 12step program out there. Step 6 – Reconsider..

tofu instead of cheese.” Find a substitute. Write down every item that you probably shouldn't have purchased. Start experimenting with new ingredients and recipes. Acknowledge that you cannot remake yourself or your dietary selections overnight. Step 8 – Record. Consider using lower-priced or healthier ingredients in your favorite recipes.' Step 11 – Baby Steps. Too much change will cause rejection and abandonment of the whole project. Were they of the best value? Did you check to see if you had coupons for the items you selected? Did you consider other brands that might have been priced lower and been just as good? If not. When you have finished going down an aisle in the grocery store. You may be thinking. Even the best chefs learn something new every day. and 'do the aisle again. buy it. for the NEW me. your mind may think of it as a reward. cholesterol-lowering spread instead of butter. “I can make a better choice that will become my NEW favorite. Humilty is the stepstone of success. or items that could be replaced with lower-cost selections. Step 7 – Be Humble. 20 . put the guilty items back on the shelf. and enter a new instruction. Step 10 – Reject. There's a lot for you to learn about food. turn around. items that cost too much. review the items that you picked up in that aisle. Find new ways of doing things that work for you and your family. Take it slow. your refrigerator and your freezer. and if you like it – keep buying it. I’m entitled to this and no one can stop me from buying it. Now comes the fun part. it's time to look at the positive solutions before you.regarding your shopping habits.” When your conscious mind says this to your subconscious. When you reach for that high-priced non-essential food item. These are the "bad guys" that are eating a hole in your budget… Step 9 – Substitute. Examples: plain yogurt instead of sour cream. I’ve always been able to afford it. Be open to the idea of putting new items in your shopping cart. “I’ve always eaten this. “STOP!” Reset your mind. you must mentally shout out. Take a notepad and physically stand in front of your pantry.

You can open one at the in-store bank that most grocery stores have these days. If you're very diligent. If you saved $20 – put a $20 bill in your piggy back for a rainy day or a splurge event later in the year. 21 . and put it in a bank savings account immediately. get 'cash back' equal to that amount.Step 12 – Rejoice. Reward yourself for taking specific steps to lower your food costs.

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Chapter 5: The Myths & Misconceptions of Store Coupons The core of any grocery savings plan is store coupons. if I save $50 on my weekly groceries. see if you can find your opinions among these common shibboleths. Why then do people turn down $50 to $75. save! Knowing the value of money is the first step to keeping and building even more money in the future. and it's your lucky day. The richest people in the world don't go around flashing money. save. REALITY: Only smart people use coupons. You'd snatch up the $50 and celebrate winning a valuable prize. Oprah Winfrey uses coupons. knowing how to value money is really what made them rich in the first place. even $100 or more in savings on groceries? By not clipping and using store coupons. on the basis that you already earn a salary and don't really need the $50? Would you return it and ask that it be given to a poorer person – someone who could "really use it"? Of course not! It's found cash. Let's examine the top 10 myths about store coupons. it doesn't matter. They are always looking for ways to save. Imagine that you are at a social function where door prizes are being given away. People tend to have fixed opinions about grocery coupons. They're the number one promotional device in the grocery industry and you're going to have to come to terms with them. When I go shopping. Imagine your name is drawn from a hat and the prize is a brand-new $50 bill. In fact. She's not exactly poor… Smart. I feel disappointed. I know that I probably could have saved a lot more if I had shopped correctly! By the way. and – unfortunately for their budgets – most of them are wrong. MYTH 1: Only poor people use coupons. Love them or hate them. yes – but not poor. 23 . Would you turn it down. the richest people in the world tend to be incredibly frugal…believe it or not. and more will be given to you over time. Respect what you have been given and treat it properly. you're turning down the chance to save a ton of money.

! 24 . You probably deserve a break. here is a huge lesson that you can learn now or learn later: SAVING money is the same thing as EARNING money. a monster home entertainment system …whatever you consider TOTALLY FRIVOLOUS and TOTALLY DESIRABLE. just imagine for a moment what you and your family could do with an extra $2.000 or $3. not me.. When you arrive at this conclusion. money to blow on a super vacation. But if you're like the 99% of us who have to live on a fixed income or a regular paycheck. and “oh so many” of today's ultra-successful Hummer-driving success stories make this conclusion. be sure you're talking about your SPARE time. By this I mean the actual cash you would be generating in your spare time. Even if you’re making tons and tons of money during your work time. let alone shopping for yourself. Benjamin Franklin said it. I'm talking about totally fun money… money that you can use to do anything you want. "A penny saved is a penny earned".. why not just go back to the office for another hour each week? Would that be easier? Folks. you're probably better off hiring someone to do your grocery shopping.MYTH 2: If you can afford to pay full price. If you have an easy way to 'turn on the tap' to put more money in your pocket. you're very lucky. so take one. and you really do work every moment of every day. remember Jack: all work / no play… it doesn’t have a happy ending.. REALITY: If your spare time is worth more than $100 per hour. let alone using coupons. using coupons is a waste of time. a new hot tub. And now his picture is on the $100 bill..000 per year. and not the billing rate you would command if you were in the office. If your spare time is exactly the same as your work time. consider opening your mind up to ways that can SAVE your money so you can do more with what you've got. Would you give less than an hour of your time each week to get it? Would you actually stoop to getting out a pair of scissors and clipping coupons to get it? If not.

Picture it this way: saving on your groceries can be a valid way to help you pay off your debt faster. If you use coupons effectively. you'll have more money left in your checking account at the end of the day. If you write smaller checks to your grocery store. It means that instead of writing a check for $150 for groceries. many of them are for new items that you may not want or need. you're written in that creditor's shylock book. That is a fact. REALITY: Effective couponers can literally cut their food cost in half without even trying. you write a check for $75. If you truly feel you do not need to save on groceries. “I don’t deal with a shylock or a gangster. It's not rocket science. along with the other techniques described in this book. MYTH 3: You end up paying about the same. Instead. you will end up paying less in hard cash at the grocery checkout. REALITY: Grocery coupons are issued for hundreds of everyday items – things you already buy for your family. Yes. tell me this: do you have any credit card debt? If you owe ANY creditor ANY amount of cash. View it however you like. “Vinnie” the shylock won’t be driving by to break your knee caps. You're still on a pay-as-you-go plan. one that will take an immense amount of financial change to dig your way out of. Same criminals / same effect: the situation has just been prettied-up to make you feel better about it. “Oh. my credit card is with one of America’s premier banking institutions. no” you might say. great. Trust me. That's real money. “Vincent” from the bank will simply break your credit score until you cough up the “vig” – 21%+ interest on the balance due. it's a nice feeling! MYTH 4: Grocery coupons are just a come-on to get you to buy overpriced items or "weird" items you really don't need.Here's another way to look at wealth and financial status. You'll have more money set aside at the end of the month and that can go towards your debt.” Okay. and it really does stay in your bank account. Some are also for 25 . even if you use coupons.

MYTH 5: People will think I'm destitute if I use coupons. don't need it. Smart money management never goes out of style. REALITY: If you truly are independently wealthy.. don't buy it! There are hundreds of other coupons available for items your family really does want. I don't know of a single person who would say "no" to getting a free new wardrobe every year. Just remember this: all grocery products were new at some point in time. You shouldn't use coupons as an excuse to buy things you don't need. or a free trip to Paris including hotel and airfare. You've been buying your favorites your whole life. Small debt that you start to rack up today will 26 .. Use the coupons you need and don't use the ones you don't. you probably don't need to use coupons. But guess what? If you don't want it. You'd be ignoring the other principles we discuss in this book about planning your shopping list before you head out the door and really thinking about what your family wants and needs. But I don't know of a single family who would turn down a free weekend in the Bahamas or at Disney World. when you're jetting across the Atlantic with a glass of Chardonnay in your hand. Then. and don't use coupons. need and use every day. Maybe you'll find some new favorites if you just try them one time. if you don't regularly treat yourself and your family to items like these.products that are overpriced. picture the people who make you feel destitute in the grocery store: are they on the plane with you? When you're headed to Paris to spend the money you've saved. or you simply don't want the nicer things in life. or don't like it. Would you turn these things down if they were offered to you? I didn’t think so. the techniques described in this book provide a real opportunity for you to start doing so.. If you can already afford these things every year without putting a dent in your budget. will you care what those nay-sayers think? I didn’t think so. However. Maybe not today but certainly later in life. you're right: maintain your affluent / happy / free-wheeling image. Pennies that you save today will compound into dollars over time.. But weak money management can seriously cramp your style.

If you're crying for the Fortune 500-listed grocery manufacturers. REALITY: Grocery manufacturers WANT you to use their coupons. you really do have too much time or money on your hands… MYTH 7: Grocers do not want affluent shoppers to use coupons. regardless of who redeems them. They want people to try their products. Eva Peron insisted that Argentina should not cry for her (despite being an enormously popular public figure and despite dying young… see the movie "Evita" for details). so this increases jobs for the people at the factory. The food manufacturer would jump for joy if they saw you. If they didn't want consumers to buy their products. They don't pay tens of thousands of dollars to distribute them in the hope that nobody will use them. Couponing is the #1 PROMOTIONAL TOOL available to the grocery industry. super-premium items. not theirs. and increases sales for the farmers and food producers. they wouldn't issue the coupons. REALITY: Who spends the most at grocery stores? It's the affluent households who can afford the more 'frivolous' products: pre-mixed items. Let the mockers laugh: you’re building for your future. and become repeat customers. using their coupon to buy their product. higher-priced items. an affluent shopper. The grocery manufacturers want MARKET SHARE. In fact. the higher the coupon redemption rate. The moral of this story: saving pennies leads to saving dollars.compound into larger debt over time. Who is most likely to become a repeat buyer of higher-priced items? That's right: affluent households. Saving dollars early in life will lead to a much more robust lifestyle in your future. etc. the more products they sell. They must replenish the sold product. MYTH 6: It's unethical to use coupons if I can afford to pay full price. THIS IS WHY THEY PAY TO PRINT THE 27 . Manufacturers issue coupons according to a well-structured plan to build market share in specific parts of the country. and that can be very hard to overcome. Coupons help spur the economy. enjoy the products.

let's look at this situation from the food manufacturer's perspective. And when you go to buy the product again. By printing coupons that offer you a large discount on the product. REALITY: Again. and it works: my kids ask me to buy specific brand names of items that they enjoyed the first time I bought them (brands they wouldn't even know about if I hadn't made the initial purchase using a store coupon. They're attempting to BUY your loyalty… 28 . So guess what: once you try the product.COUPONS IN THE FIRST PLACE! Grocers make money every time a shopper selects their store over the competition. they want to overcome any price resistance and the natural tendency to avoid trying something unfamiliar. new combinations. They develop new lines of products. This is the manufacturer's goal. No company would incur the massive expense of testing. They want you in their store and they want you to fill your cart with the best items in their store They're not worried about processing a few coupons if it keeps you coming back. it works for the store manager who makes his or her money whether you use the coupon or not. they're actually very smart. and you get to try the best new and improved products that the industry has to offer. and distributing a product if they didn't believe the buying public would like it. and it works for your family: you get cheap or FREE stuff initially. the next time.. packaging. you won't have a coupon – but you WILL have the request from your family to ‘get more’ of the product. They are DESPERATE to have you buy a box of their latest creation and let your family try it. MYTH 8: It doesn't make sense to buy products that I don't normally buy. chances are high that you and/or your family will LOVE IT.) Couponing works for everyone – it works for the manufacturer who sells more products. and on and on for years. The people employed by the leading food manufacturers are not stupid. because they believe that consumers will like them. So the hope is that you will become a loyal purchaser and you will pay full-price for the item – this time. new flavors. etc. They're not putting coupons out there to be charitable.

nickels. REALITY: If you do it right. you need to save more money. give some to charity. If you don't mind paying hundreds of dollars in interest each year. you've just lost your vote. Examples: 1. you're right – you don't need to use coupons but you also need to have your head examined (!). or simply don't care about money. home furnishings. you're right: you don't need to save money. Just about everyone could benefit from saving money. 2. Why would someone like ME need to use grocery coupons? REALITY: Few people are doing as well as they could be. Do you have the very latest clothing. 3.000 per year. and save some for your own use. electronics. Or. cars. dimes and dollars now! Because if you spend like there's no tomorrow – there might not BE a tomorrow.? If not. it can be fun. couponing will only add one or two hours to your shopping time per week and it can easily save you $50 per week on groceries Plus. You’ll feel better about it. Do you honestly have more money than you need? If so. Do you owe ANY money on ANY loan.MYTH 9: I make a good living.000 or more per year in your spare time – without working – and it's something that 29 . couponing is not for you. why don't you run out today and pay cash for everything you've ever want? If you could. If you honestly couldn't pay cash on the barrel today. (Yogi Berra should have said that…) MYTH 10: Couponing is hard to do. and a real waste of time. Case closed.000 per year. including your home mortgage? Couponing could save you $5. Imagine what your loan balances would look like if you paid down $5. $2. etc. If you are independently wealthy. 4. and couponing is a step in the right direction. Do you currently owe a balance on a credit cards? If you answered YES.000. At least not the same tomorrow as today. if you have some other method to earn $1. Save your pennies.

Save money on groceries. If you have an easy way to 'turn on the tap' to put more money in your pocket. BIG IDEA 12: Saving money is the same thing as EARNING money.. You've been buying your favorites your whole life. it's the chance to make $40 an hour without lifting a finger…or even a pair of scissors… Big Idea Recap – Chapter 5 BIG IDEA 11: The richest people in the world still do many things the way they did early in their life.. couponing takes a little effort. small debt that you start to rack up today will compound into 30 . Maybe you'll find some new favorites if you just try them one time? BIG IDEA 16: Smart money management never goes out of style. But the ends justify the means. Yes. Maybe not today – but later in the month or later in the year – and certainly later in life. because that is what made them rich. Yes. Conversely. BIG IDEA 15: All grocery products were new at some point in time. you need to GET OUT OF DEBT as quickly as you can. But weak money management can seriously cramp your style. consider hiring a neighborhood kid to clip your coupons for $10 per hour. BIG IDEA 13: If you have credit card balances or any amount of consumer debt. and use the money to pay off your debt quicker. you should pursue it. And for you. BIG IDEA 14: Write smaller checks to your grocery store. this is simple math – but sometimes the obvious doesn’t hit home until you think about it.you enjoy . Pennies that you save today will compound into dollars over time. you're very lucky. If you're like the 99% of us who have to live on a fixed income or a regular paycheck. If your spare time truly is worth more than $50 per hour. and you'll have more money left in your checking account at the end of the day. open your mind to ways that you can SAVE money and do more with what you've got. it's less work for them than clipping your lawn.

If you really don't need to save money. And for you. and that can be very hard to overcome. BIG IDEA 19: The people employed by the leading food manufacturers are not stupid. very smart. in fact. They're not putting coupons out there to be charitable. and they’re already rich! BIG IDEA 18: Grocers make money every time a shopper selects their store over the competition. you probably won’t make the same income that you make today. they're issuing them to gain market share and win your loyalty. Save money NOW while you’ve still got it – and you’ll have a lot more money later in life when you’ll need it more. they're actually very. BIG IDEA 21: If your time truly is worth more than $50 per hour. with the best items in their store. you'll feel better. 31 .. consider hiring a neighborhood kid to clip your coupons for $10 per hour. They're not worried about accepting a few coupons if it keeps you coming back. You might even say – perish the thought – that they're attempting to BUY your loyalty… BIG IDEA 20: Later in life. it's less work for him or her than clipping your lawn. Or a pair of scissors… BIG IDEA 22: Be charitable to yourself by using coupons and selecting brands that are on sale. it's like making $40 an hour without lifting a finger. They want you in their store. BIG IDEA 17: Don’t worry about taking money out of the pockets of the major food manufacturing companies. and they want you to fill your cart as high as it will go. give it to a real charity.larger debt over time. They don’t worry about overcharging you.. and so will they.

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g. 20 coupon maximum per visit). STRATEGY. The battle to save money at the grocery store begins long before you set foot in the store. The secret to tackling any major goal is to PLAN YOUR WORK. Live them. up to 50¢. b. 2. Players train and exercise for months before they play the first game of the season. EXPIRATION: Check expiration dates religiously before you shop. leave immediately and find a store that does. They are in excellent physical condition and are well-versed on their team's playbook long before the first ball is hiked. This is the actual implementation of the plan. TACTICS. Think of the actual process of grocery shopping as being like a football game. Learn them. up to 60¢. DOUBLING: Find out if the grocery store offers DOUBLE COUPON redemption. DOUBLING LIMITS: Find out the maximum coupon value for doubling. BASIC COUPONING STRATEGY Here are the 10 "sacred rules" of couponing. Let's look at the STRATEGY behind couponing. you WILL save money. and the many rules. The "grocery game" is a lot like a football game: If you PLAN to save money and are PREPARED to save money before you hit the aisles of your grocery store. 3. up to 99¢. NEVER try to use an expired coupon. there are two parts to any battle plan: a. 33 . Also find out if the store limits the number of coupons you can redeem in one visit. 1. This is the creation of a PLAN.Chapter 6: Strategy and Tactics: How To Win the War for Your Wallet As any military strategist will tell you. i. regulations and insider tips you'll need to know before you hit the grocery store. then WORK YOUR PLAN. etc. (e. Generals always plan before they implement an attack on the battlefield.e. If not.

Take a minute to scan through ALL of your coupons before 34 . Most coupons are brand specific. buy milk & cookies to get X¢ off on the cookies? 10. NEVER try to redeem a coupon for a brand other than the one shown on the coupon. Look for items that are on sale that you have a coupon for. (HINT: The highest-value coupon may not provide the best overall value. BRAND REQUIREMENTS. the scanner will catch it instantly.4. 7. Clip and keep ALL coupons for products you may want. The scanners in most grocery stores identify each coupon by linking the barcode on your coupon to a database of valid coupons in circulation. BOGO POLICY: Find out the store's policy on BOGO (Buy One / Get One Free) specials. MATCHING REQUIREMENTS: Is a matching purchase needed to redeem the coupon. EXPIRATION Food companies issue coupons to boost seasonal sales of their products.) 6. HYPER VALUES. e. CONTAINER SIZE / FLAVOR REQUIREMENTS: Is the coupon redeemable for all sizes. especially to the grocer who accepts them. CLIP EVERYTHING. flavors and variations of the product. or is there a specific choice requirement defined on the coupon? 9. Many check out clerks check the expiration date before they scan the coupon. If your coupon is expired. They have real value. or even FREE in some cases! Let’s review each of these 10 strategy items in detail. QUANTITY REQUIREMENTS: Does the coupon require you to buy 2 or more of the item to get the discount? 8. Plus. (can you buy only 1. even low-value coupons. or must you buy 2?) 5. Almost every coupon you clip will have an expiration date. You will enjoy a double discount that gives you the item for a very low cost.g. if you knowingly attempt to redeem an expired coupon you are committing attempted fraud. Coupons are negotiable documents.

. they are anticipating a 'bell curve' in their response. so the total number of coupons redeemed goes up. Over the next few weeks. But just bear in mind that the store is simply the brokering agent for the coupon. the volume of coupons redeemed hits a peak. (It’s unlikely that anyone has ever served jail time for attempting to redeem an expired grocery coupon. So when they issue a coupon on January 1st with an expiration date of March 31st. Do it once too often. At some point near the middle of the promotion. If they accept a coupon that is expired. they have no chance of getting credit for it. From that point on. It looks something like this: The day the coupons are distributed.) As I stated above. more and more consumers redeem the coupons. So you are really attempting to steal from the store. they start to appear in stores. the total number starts to decline and eventually trails off.) The expiration date can actually work in your favor. so there's another reason to be aware of coupons that are almost at their expiration date (but not beyond it..you go shopping so you can stay on the right side of the law… and your store manager. the food companies use coupons to boost seasonal sales of their products. and your store manager may choose to call you out on it. 35 .

DOUBLING Coupon doubling is a popular technique used by grocery stores to attract shoppers. it's common to see doubling limits increased to 99¢ in value. and a limit of 20 coupons per visit – or no limit at all. Find out if your store doubles "DO NOT DOUBLE" coupons. a grocer may limit doubling to coupons up to 30¢ or 35¢ in value. and they may set a limit of 10 coupons per visit. you MUST shop there to get the most for your money – regardless of your store preference.If you charted out the total number of coupons redeemed from January 1st through March 31st. and may do something to boost sales until the next coupons are distributed. This is when many products are put on special. or offered as a 'BOGO'. In areas with high competition. VERY FEW PEOPLE USE COUPONS and this can be to your advantage. See the 'BOGO' section later in this book to find out how this works. you may find TRIPLING of coupons from time to time. you would be concerned about declining sales at this point. If you were a product manager at the food company. you would see that very few coupons are redeemed in the last week of the promotion – between March 24th & March 31st. Your store may or may not choose to double the coupon – and unless you know their policy for certain. avoid these coupons if you are not willing to settle for the face discount value. 36 . When you see a store offering tripling of coupon values. Some important rules to know about doubling: 1. The retailers know that only a small percentage of shoppers will actually take advantage of this offer – and those shoppers that do use coupons will often have just one or two that they found in their morning paper. In areas with only marginal competition. especially senior citizens and families with children. It's almost mandatory when there are multiple grocers in your area competing for your business. Some manufacturers are printing the words "DO NOT DOUBLE" in the margins of the coupon. In areas of EXTREME competition where the grocery chains are fighting for market share.

Here is an example: Brand Name Store Price Coupon Value Net Cost To You After Coupon Doubling Brand A Spaghetti Sauce Brand B Spaghetti Sauce $2. Store sale. More about this later. BEFORE you shop there. This will take a little practice.59 $2. you should get in the habit of determining their actual redemption value in the store you are shopping in.29 on sale $1. You may want to use a lower-value coupon. DOUBLING LIMITS Every grocery store sets its own limits on the high value of coupon doubling.59 (coupon not doubled) $1. the net savings effect is multiplied. the coupon net value difference here seems negligible – only 10¢ net difference. You can eventually achieve a lower net-cost per unit by selecting a brand for which you have a lower-value coupon. A lesser-value coupon that is doubled can be worth more than a larger coupon that is NOT doubled.00 $. But combined with the sale price. The price savings on Brand B seems very small but can often make a huge net difference in your total grocery bill. You must know the doubling limit of the store you are shopping in. but it will pay off big 37 . Determine the net redemption value of your coupon before you get to the checkout counter. which could net out a greater discount for you.19 As you can see. you will very likely be disappointed at the check out counter.2. IF the store has the item on sale. Check the prices for ALL brands for which you have coupons. When you view the face value of your store coupons. The most common level you will find is 50¢. It’s true. although some stores go as low as 35¢ and some go as high as 99¢. If you don't.55 $1. Doubling value of the coupon. you will save 40¢ by choosing Brand B – EVEN THOUGH your coupon had about half the face value of the coupon for Brand A. b. Again. Two factors have contributed to your savings here: a.

The items must sell before the expiration date or be discarded at a 100% loss to the store when the expiration date is reached. They may have ordered too many of a given item and they simply do not have room to store them. 38 . This is why knowing the doubling limit of your grocery store is so important. you get the second item for FREE when you buy one at the regular price. This example is for a store that has set a 55¢ maximum value on coupon doubling. Perhaps the items did not sell as quickly as the store manager had anticipated and the inventory is approaching its expiration date.time in terms of savings. Smaller-value coupons can often lead to larger savings at the grocery store. the highest value coupon does NOT always result in the greatest discount. EXPIRATION DATE. Why do stores offer BOGOs? 1. Here are some examples on how you should train your mind to think of coupons of different valuations. OVERSTOCK.10 60¢ 75¢ As you can see. the lower the coupon value. Alternatively. the greater the net discount. Sometimes. the cost of storing the excess items may be excessive. It may be cheaper to clear the item out at half the price. BOGO POLICY Remember those old 'alien from outer space' movies where the jet pilot reported a "Bogie at 10:00?" You need to be on similar high alert in the grocery store: "BOGO in aisle 10!" What is a BOGO? It's a "Buy One / Get One" deal. Coupon Face Value Redemption Value After Doubling 25¢ 35¢ 55¢ 60¢ 75¢ 50¢ 70¢ $1. 2.

4. Grocery stores will blast their BOGO deals in big type on the front page of their flyers. By advertising a number of BOGO deals. buy two and put the extra item in your pantry or freezer. However. The store may be in an intense market share fight with a competitor. or you cannot use two containers before the expiration date. and in many stores it is NEVER the case. they can buy just one and pay half the price. or whether you can buy just one at half the price. If you were going to buy the item anyway. MANUFACTURER PROMOTION. BOGO promotions are quick for a retailer to implement. Why? Because they have nothing to gain by doing so. LOSS LEADER. Be bold: walk up to the customer service counter and ask the manager whether you MUST buy 2 of the item. This is the ideal time to use your store coupon. To build market share for a specific product in a specific store. and they'll be glad to get it. they can often entice shoppers to change their store of preference. Many shoppers will assume that if an item is on BOGO special. it makes no sense to buy the extra (second) item. You cannot be timid when it comes to knowing the store's policy on BOGOs. (although they are often chain-wide promotions offered by the leading grocers. This is not always the case. Here's an example to help you understand why: 39 . It is your right to know. the manufacturer's representative may give the store free merchandise to give away under a BOGO deal. and it can make a big difference in your checkout total.3. Shoppers may visit one time to get the BOGO deals. They will NOT advertise their actual BOGO redemption policy. If you honestly don't need two of an item. do not pass up the BOGO deal.) A store may offer a quick two or three day BOGO promotion to clear out stockpiled inventory. You could also consider donating it to Second Harvest or your local food bank. and the manager is hoping they enjoy the shopping experience and the values enough to switch stores permanently. if the BOGO is for a non-perishable item that you could use in the future. someone can use the second item. Many times they are store-specific.

OFF ONE” POLICY: NET COST TO YOU: $0. You have now saved $2. Box. 21 oz. for a grand total savings of $4. 50¢ off on one box purchase.25 each. a savings of over 73% OFF RETAIL! CLIP EVERYTHING Let's cut to the chase: there is no need to clip coupons for 'Super Sugar Shack' cereal if you're a senior and don't have grandkids.50.25 per box of cereal. You have now saved $2. $1.00. Buy one at $3. get one free.50 for two boxes of cereal. Store doubles the coupon value to $1. regular price $3.75 for one box of cereal.75 off normal retail on one box of cereal.50 – more than 54% OFF RETAIL! SUPER SECRET: Some stores have altered their BOGO policy to meet the needs of senior citizens. CHECK WITH YOUR STORE BEFORE YOU BUY! If your store allows half off purchasing of one item in a BOGO deal. 50¢ off on one box purchase. regular price $3.PRODUCT: COUPON VALUE: BOGO SALE PRICE: NET COST TO YOU: Gummy Gunk Cereal. BOGO SALE PRICE AT STORE WITH “1/2 Buy one at $1. $2. Seniors who live alone often do not need two boxes of a product.50. To keep senior customers happy. many stores will allow you to buy one box at half price. Box. And 40 . 21 oz.75. Store doubles the coupon value to $1. they consume so little that the second box would become stale before they use it. look how much you could save in this same example: PRODUCT: COUPON VALUE: Gummy Gunk Cereal. rather than buy one at full price and take a second box free.00.50.

which will typically show each brand they manufacture. it is a thrill you will enjoy every week. Be doubly careful about checking 41 .00 Many people will pass over a 30¢ coupon as trivial. What I mean by 'Clip Everything' is do not avoid coupons for brands you haven't tried. and not clip it. it results in what you will come to know as 'Coupon Nirvana'. some cereal companies will issue coupons good for two or more boxes of any brand of cereal they make.29 79¢ Sale Price 99¢ 59¢ Coupon Value 25¢ 30¢ Doubled Value 60¢ 50¢ Net Cost To You FREE 29¢ 49¢ % Savings Off Original Price 100% 82% 63% $1. BRAND REQUIREMENTS When a coupon says it is good for Brand A Peanut Butter. But as you can see in our example. and they deserve the sale it generates. over and over again. For example. the Brand A marketing people spent big bucks to get that coupon into distribution. If you follow my techniques for regular. Where this gets tricky is when the coupon is for a 'family' of products. it can lead to getting a product totally FREE.29 50¢ $1. and you'll especially like them if you get them for FREE or close to free. OR. After all. You might like the brands you haven't tried. not Brand B or Brand C. Here's an example: Item Hot Sauce Crackers Ketchup Original Price $1. Plus. No legitimate grocer would accept a coupon for a brand other than the one shown.69 $1. It's not the free merchandise that is the reward. systematic couponing. you can look at the logos on the box to verify that it's one of their brands. And that's just about the best possible way to stretch your grocery budget. it's the thrill of the hunt.there is no need to clip a coupon for denture cream if you're twentyfive and have a full set of pearly whites. And the 'nickel and dime' coupons that you might think worthless can really add up in certain situations. a feeling of euphoria and power. or coupons that at first glance seem worthless. it means that it is ONLY good for Brand A Peanut Butter. A good way to tell is to look at the photo on the coupon.

because they often won't scan properly. The immediate inclination is to assume that all three of these variations were on sale. 42 . and they may have five or even ten line extensions in the same food category. but the coupon may be valid for only one of these four types of frozen dinners.99 per individual package.50 per package). or simply an honest mistake on the part of a sleepy stock clerk? You be the judge… but the price of the sale bacon was $4. WRONGO-PONGO! The ad stated that the "Natural Choice" version was on sale. For example. Another thing I'd like to point out about Brand Requirements is that you can't believe your eyes when it comes to signs. only to realize at the checkout line that the coupon is for a different implementation of the same brand. You may see the brand name on the package and think it is the product described on the coupon. one frozen dinner manufacturer offers "Duos". but the sign was placed among the regular versions of the product.00 extra for the same amount of meat. All four are frozen dinners. The variation that was on sale wasn't even near the display sign! Was this an intentional deception on the part of the store manager. Bringing home the bacon gets a lot more expensive if you aren't on the alert. The scanner will reject the coupon if you haven't selected the exact same type shown on the coupon. but bad if you select the wrong variation and have to pay full price for it. They're great for finicky eaters. The industry calls these "line extensions". "Grilled Specialties" and "Bowls". I had an experience recently where the store's print ad said that a particular brand of bacon was on BOGO sale. You should always double-check the flavor or brand variation. sign placement. If you picked up two of the non-sale variation. "Singles".99 for two (net cost $2. be on the alert that it's easy to select the wrong product. you'd pay about $7. This is especially true with brands that have extensive product lines such as 'healthy' or 'diet' foods. SIGNS LIE. There was a giant display sign in the middle of three different variations of the brand's bacon. and sign wording. so just go ahead and pick any two and get the deal. If you see a wall full of products with the same brand logo.that you receive your discount on these types of coupons. and the price of the NON-sale bacon was $5. Another thing to watch is that you select the BRAND VARIATION a given coupon is valid for.

you can't return food if there was no mistake on the store's part. Check the dates first. Do I need two of this item. "that item was on sale last week. "Save $1. they're not so certain. So don't be afraid to stick to your guns. The one time that this quantity issue goes away is when the item is on BOGO (Buy One / Get One FREE). and the coupon will be authorized. SALES CLERKS LIE. so you will have technically purchased two. especially when you know you're right. Factor this in when you are doing your 'net cost' calculations. But you will only be charged for one item. don't use it until you verify that it's the current flyer. The clerks don't necessarily clean out the shopping carts every day. believe what you verify before you check out. These type of coupons should put up red flags in your mind: a. I would tend to think that a lot of shoppers made a mistake in their selection. i. If you find a sales flyer in your shopping cart. All of a sudden." I pull out the current sales flyer and show them the item. QUANTITY REQUIREMENTS Some coupons require multiple purchases. So a flyer you find in the cart on a Sunday could have expired the day before. but it's not on sale now. 43 . The cashier will scan two boxes of the product. I've had sales clerks state with 100% certainty.e.And given that the sale sign was in the largest portion of the meat cooler among the largest inventory of all the brands of bacon sold in that store. and you will still enjoy the full value of the coupon discount. and in fact they seem ticked that they were caught in a lie. FLYERS LIE.00 on 2". All you can do is to be more careful in the future. So don't believe what you see. And once you've left the store. because you must buy two of them. The face value of the coupon is automatically cut in HALF. there is nothing you can do about it. and will I consume this quantity within the normal shelf life of the product? b. When an item rings up wrong.

take the coupon and the flavor you want to the Customer Service window and ask. If in doubt. the coupon may say "FREE half-gallon of milk". and is trying to sway people away from buying the 16 oz. One way to get increased value through 'matching requirement coupons' is to use ANOTHER coupon for the items required. The scanner will not accept the coupon if you try to use it with a 16 oz.35). You may find that there are three other flavor choices on the shelf. the store's 44 .CONTAINER SIZE / FLAVOR REQUIREMENTS This is another area where discretion is the better part of valor. and in other cases it is valid for the one flavor only. and paying the regular price for your milk. Bear in mind that they are counting on you to pay the full retail price of their cookies ($3. MATCHING REQUIREMENTS If a coupon offer looks too good to be true. be sure to read the fine print. in the example above. The fine type may include the actual offer: Free milk when you buy a 16 oz. The coupon may say that the discount is available on the "barbeque" flavor of sauce. They will scan the product and the coupon and let you know if the coupon is valid on that specific variation of the product. bottle only. because sometimes the coupon is valid for all four flavors. In other words. For example. package of our cookies AND an 18 oz. In most cases. The manufacturer may have an interest in promoting sales of their 32 oz. You may actually come out ahead buying store brand cookies and cereal. bottle. So you must spend $7. bottle. It may require a matching purchase. you may find that you have a different coupon for the required brand of cookies. bottle. that is the rule.000 items in the typical grocery store.85 to get a 'free' half-gallon of milk ($2. The same rule applies to flavors. So if the coupon says the discount is valid on the 32 oz. It pays to do the math quickly in your head before using a matching requirement coupon. There is no hard-and-fast rule about this.00). and possibly a third coupon for the particular brand of cereal. You have to understand that there are over 10. box of our cereal.50) and the full retail price of their cereal ($4.

Here's how it works: Let's say that your store is overstocked with a certain brand and size of canned peaches. IF THERE'S NO SIGN. BONUS BUYS. A typical example of this is in cereals: All Brand "A" cereals on a list will be 3 for $5. they're marked down to 50¢. use it. Since the store will automatically double the coupon at check-out time. The only way you'll find them is to read the flyer that shows up in your morning newspaper.00.computer will not consider these to be competing coupons. You never know until you try. If they are overstocked on a particular manufacturer's line of cereal – or perhaps the manufacturer's rep really needs to boost volume in your area and extends special pricing to the store – you may find that your store extends a 'Bonus Buy' across the entire product line. so the coupon is entered differently from the others and the store’s computer will not reject it as an attempted double redemption. or approximately $1. (Be sure to check the product name and package size requirements. the cashier must manually enter the price of the free item into the cash register. make sure you understand and use the strategy of 'Hyper Values'. You'll now be paying $4. It's important to note that many of the special deals available at a store are NOT advertised on the store shelf. typically on a 45 . IT MUST BE ON SALE. So if you had a 50¢ coupon for the cookies and a 35¢ coupon for the cereal. It just doesn't get any better than this. Another example is the 'Bonus Buys' that a store will offer. HYPER VALUES If you use only one strategy out of these coupon value-increasing ideas. plus the cashier will take off the $1. In most cases. Instead of 99¢.00 off on any 3 boxes of Brand "A" cereal.00 for 3 boxes of cereal. they offer them at 50% off. box of cereal and NOT the 18 oz.70 in doubled value for these coupons.33 per box. you are now getting the peaches for FREE. You happen to have a coupon for this brand offering 25¢ off a single can of fruit.50 for the milk. you could get $1. the bonus may apply to the 28 oz. box of cereal – so you could end up paying MORE for a SMALLER box if you're not careful!) If you have a coupon for $1.

Wednesday or Thursday. These same flyers are also available on a rack when you enter the store. What is really laughable is that literally NOBODY picks up a flyer when they enter the store. How many times have you seen somebody poring over a store flyer before they shop? Almost never. The reason? It's déclassé, and most people 'just don't have time for that'. Again, if your time is more valuable than your money, breeze on by the stack of flyers. The 2 minutes you save by NOT reading the flyer could end up costing you $10, $20 or more. (But hey, it's only money).

Big Idea Recap – Chapter 6
BIG IDEA 23: The greatest savings in the “grocery game” are achieved when you PLAN in advance to save money and are PREPARED to save money before you ever hit the aisles of your grocery store. BIG IDEA 24: The closer to the coupon expiration date, the greater the chances that an additional promotion on the product has already started. It means that you can save even more on the same product. BIG IDEA 25: The food manufacturers know that many people will NEVER clip a coupon. For every person who REDEEMS a coupon, 10 others will READ the coupons and associate those brands with value. In other words, coupons are used to build impressions in your mind that certain products offer excellent quality AND value – regardless of whether they actually do or not. Unless you actually clip and redeem the coupon, you won’t receive that extra value. BIG IDEA 26: Watch for 'tripling' events. This is when a store offers triple the face value of the coupon. Some stores limit this promotion to 50¢, but others will triple up to 99¢ – so many of your items will be totally free after the discount. BIG IDEA 27: Sometimes, the lower the coupon value, the greater the net discount. (WHAT? Did I read that right, or is it a typographical error?) No, you did not read it incorrectly. Smaller-value coupons can often lead to larger savings at the grocery store.
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BIG IDEA 28: Take advantage of BOGO deals on non-perishable items, even when you don't have an immediate need for the item. Canned goods or cleaning supplies will keep just fine for a year or two on the shelf – and you won't have to pay full-price the next time you need the item. BIG IDEA 29: If your grocer allows you to buy only one item at half-price under a 'BOGO' deal AND you are using a coupon on the purchase, your net savings amount for the one item will be much higher that if you purchased two units of the same item. BIG IDEA 30: Clip every coupon that is for a product that some member of your household could use, even if you've never tried the brand before. You might find a super-special on the item, and you might end up liking it more than your current brand. BIG IDEA 31: Check, double-check, even triple-check to make sure that the brand variation shown on your coupon is the same as the item you put into your shopping cart. If it's wrong, you will probably end up paying full price for the item. BIG IDEA 32: Don't make assumptions when selecting items that are on sale. Pick up a sales flyer when you first enter the store, and compare the wording & photo of the sale item to the item in your shopping cart; if it doesn't match exactly, investigate until you are certain that you have the correct sale item. Don't trust signs or sales flyers until you verify that the dates and brand variations shown are correct. BIG IDEA 33: Be wary of "save on 2" or "save on 3" coupons. You have to buy so many of the item, it can negate the net value of the coupon. BIG IDEA 34: If a coupon shows a photo of a particular flavor, don't assume it's valid for all flavors unless this is specifically stated on the coupon. BIG IDEA 35: If the purchase of 2 or 3 different items is required to get a free item, you may be able to use additional coupons to lower the cost of the 2 or 3 items individually. BIG IDEA 36: You can get certain items for FREE is you have a coupon
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for sale items and your store doubles the value of your coupon. Read the ads, match your coupons to the ads, and do the math. It's that easy. BIG IDEA 37: Sometimes buying the bigger box costs less than buying the smaller box. BIG IDEA 38: The store is not required to call your attention to the items that are on sale. To get the best values you have to take note of the items that are featured in the store’s sales flyer, find those items, verify that you have selected the EXACT size / brand / variation that is on sale, and purchase those items. The sale items won’t jump into your cart by themselves (but if you’re not careful, similar products that you THINK are on sale but are actually NOT on sale, will be the ones that end up in your cart...)

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Chapter 7: Couponing Tactics: The Simplest Way to Organize Coupons
There are many different gadgets and custom wallets on the market to help you organize your coupons. Some cost only a few dollars, others cost $15, $20 or more. YOU DON'T NEED THEM! There's a method I use that is basically free, uncomplicated, and flexible. It's simple, it's easy to remember, and once you get the hang of it, it will make finding your coupons a breeze. Use 8 ordinary white envelopes. If you're super-cheap, you can even re-use bank envelopes, payroll envelopes, or business reply envelopes from your junk mail, (now that's REALLY cheap.) When the envelopes wear out, simply replace them. I keep mine bundled with a rubber band, and I store them in the glove box of my car. That way, I always know where they are. Also they're easy to stick in a pocket when I head into the store. The 8 envelopes are categories of products and stores. Write the category and item listings on each of your envelopes, as follows: BAKED GOODS Bread / Baking Supplies Refrigerated Dinner Rolls / Biscuits Cereal Cookies / Crackers Chips / Candy / Nuts / Popcorn / Snacks CANNED GOODS & BEVERAGES Vegetables Salad Soup Fruit Juices / Soda Coffee MEAT & FROZEN Lunchmeats

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$40. Drug Store Coupons HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR COUPONS First off.e.00 off any $30 Order) Restaurant / Retail Store Coupons Specific-Store Coupons. You should simply spend the extra $30. it's important that you dedicate yourself to saving money.e. I'm 50 . the system won't work. If you can't set aside 15 minutes per week to deal with your coupons. $5. Yes.- Bacon / Sausage / Fresh Meats Any Frozen Product (except Ice Cream) CONDIMENTS & SIDE DISHES Pasta / Sauces Boxed Meal Mixes Rice / Grains Salad Dressing Peanut Butter / Jelly Spices / Salt / Sugar Cooking Oil DAIRY Milk / Cheese / Sour Cream Eggs Ice Cream / Toppings Pudding / Dips CLEANING SUPPLIES Household Cleaning Products Paper Products Dog / Cat Food PERSONAL PRODUCTS Personal Hygiene Items / Soaps / Deodorant Medicine RESTAURANT & STORE DISCOUNTS Store Discount Coupons (i. i. reading a magazine or talking on the phone. $50 or more and use your 15 minutes for more productive things – like watching TV.

in a specific order: Left row top to bottom: Meats. It's bad form. it can actually be illegal. clip the coupon: it may end up free to you if you play your coupons right… – REVIEW EXPIRATION DATES. or a sport – you have to do the same things like clockwork for an extended period of time before you will ever see any results. You have to have an almost religious zeal for following the system (or whatever system you prefer) and stick to it. Then. I keep my coupon envelopes held together with a rubber band.being sarcastic. – CLIP ALL AT ONCE. a hobby. I use a small wicker basket. it can be embarrassing. Side Dishes Right row top to bottom: Breads. but the truth of the matter is that saving money takes time and dedication. and. – SORT ALL AT ONCE. I open the envelopes one by one and pull out any expired coupons. When you have the time. and simply put the Sunday coupon sections in there until I have time to go through them. If it's something you wouldn't even consider using. I find that it helps to set a specific time. place and routine for organizing and maintaining your coupons. go through the coupon sections and cut out any coupon you might consider using. NEVER try to use an out-of-date coupon. go through your envelopes and remove all expired coupons. Cleaning Supplies I put the final two envelopes to the side. Keep all coupons in one place until they are sorted. It's important that you do not reject coupons by brand name or familiarity at this point. Dairy. as follows: – CENTRAL LOCATION. because you really don’t tend to get as many coupons in the Personal Products and Restaurant 51 . if you do it knowingly. But if it's something that you'd consider trying if it was free. It's like anything else – a diet. Before going on a shopping trip (or at least once every few weeks). obviously don't clip that coupon. Canned Goods. I lay the envelopes out on the table in 2 rows. When it's time to do my sorting.

they could be out of refrigeration for 45. and you could be keeping them out of refrigeration for a dangerous amount of time. it’s just mentally easier. so I tend to focus on those most of all. baked goods. i.. It's a good thought. etc. and throw away my pile of expired coupons. Add in your drive time home. meats. 60. lunch meat / frozen foods always go to the top left. anything you can do to save time with your system will make it easier to follow. you can develop your own routine. this doesn't 52 . If you make a ROUTINE out of PLANNING to save money. I put the new coupons in the envelopes. Most of your coupons will be in the “big six”. Health experts will tell you to shop the perimeter of a grocery store first. you'll have a lot of perishable items in your cart that will melt or lose freshness while you are browsing the inner aisles of the grocery store. and easier to stick to. when I'm done. and will make it more relaxing and stress-free. Then. bread & cereal is always top right.e. Of course. If you do this. and avoid the processed foods on the inner aisles. Of course. but not always practical if you've got a family and have to stock up on a wide range of items every time you shop. The most important thing is that you need an establish a fixed routine. you'll load up on fresh fruits & vegetables. This will make short work out of organizing your coupons. SHOPPING TIME: organize your shopping trip to save time and keep food fresh. The benefit of following a routine is that you end up sorting without having to think about it. I leave plenty of room between the envelopes. etc. and do it all at once. Remember. if you buy fresh meats and you put them in your cart first. bundle the envelopes back up with my rubber band. If you follow the expert's advice.& Store Discount categories. For example. and simply stack my new coupons immediately below each of the envelopes. sticking to your PLAN will help you ROUTINELY save money. follow each step to its completion in a quick and determined manner. even 90 minutes. Do it the same way each week.

your net cost of buying it will be $1.apply to produce. making Brand B a better value choice right from the start. When you have an appealing coupon. so when you buy this brand you'll pay less without using a coupon.00 off coupon.49. i.00 off. But 'Brand B' may be on sale for $2. 2. you'll pay $2. THE SYSTEM There are four simple steps when using store coupons: 1. 4. SCAN. so it's EQUAL in value to Brand A's $1. and they'll arrive home in much better condition. Immediately put the coupon in your designated coupon pocket or other storage place. the 50¢ Brand B coupon will be doubled in value at the checkout counter. right? WRONG! In this case. dairy products. Let's say that Brand A's normal price is $3. Let's review why each of these steps is critical to your couponing success.99.49 – fully ONE HALF THE NET COST OF THE BRAND A ITEM!!! Over time. $1. Save the bread.e. you'll get a good value by buying Brand A. you will find that 53 .00 off on an item we'll call 'Brand A'. But you may not be enjoying the BEST value. MATCH. Plus.99. you may be tempted to search out that exact item and buy it. and Brand B's coupon gives you 50¢ off. Let's say the Brand B coupon is for 50¢ off. REVIEW all coupons that you have for the category to see if you have coupons for the items that are on sale. As an even better value proposition. consider that you may have a coupon for the Brand B item. and that's the place to start shopping first. It takes a little discipline. Many people would simply look at the two coupons side by side: Brand A's coupon gives you $1. When you have a match of coupon and sale item put the item in your cart. POCKET. 3. And chances are. With your dollar off. because Brand B is on sale for $2. SCAN all products in the category to see what's on sale today. There is literally nothing you can buy in the store that is better for your family's health than fresh fruit and vegetables. but your family will eat healthier if you focus your shopping in this section.49. meat and frozen foods for last. so the Brand A coupon offers you better savings.

try and run a taste-test contest with your family. REVIEW. the higher-priced items will be at eye level. do you really think your family will not eat the generic peas? Unless they see the cans. Cook both items. But here's a little secret (one I know from having worked at a pickle factory during summer break at college). not all generics offer the same quality as the top-shelf brands. Yes. they don't shut down the production line. What did we do when we reached our quota of the name brand product for the week? Well… we switched out the paper on the labeling machine. The plant I worked at manufactured one of the top-selling brands of pickles in the world. Buy two cans of an identical item. But when they're cooked and on your table. They carry lots of 54 . folks – it's a little-told secret of the food processing industry. At my local dollar store. They change the labels! If you doubt this. You'll find that in most stores. You may notice that the higher-priced brands look better. which go for about three times the cost of generic. Another quick test is to compare the bottle design. So when their factory reaches their quota of producing the name-brand product. A can of toppriced peas will look delicious and inviting. while a generic can of peas will look lackluster. They grab the first thing they see that looks appealing. Most people are reactive shoppers. and used the generic-brand labels. one of the high-priced brand and one of the low-priced store brand. I know. Manufacturers pay a 'slot fee' to buy shelf space. They gear up to keep their factories running 24/7. I prefer the 'baby' peas. they have a great food products section. See if your family can correctly identify which is the high-priced brand and which is the value brand. because these manufacturers put a lot of effort into their packaging. the results will be laughable: the value brand will be preferred in many cases.SCANNING the entire product category before making a selection will be your #1 key to saving. because that is the only way they can get maximum efficiency and return on investment on their plants. they typically won't know the difference. and the highest-price space is right at eye level. And frankly. and serve them up in identical dishes. Yes. I can assure you.

flavor. chunky soup. Check the brand name. It may not always be the same quality as the leading brands. you may get the EXACT SAME QUALITY with a generic or storebrand product. some of them will be downright awful. So if you're astute and willing to do a little testing. Take soup. I'm not saying that every item you pick up in a dollar store is going to be identical to the leading brand. most efficient food manufacturing plants produce and package the off-brand products. MATCH. By this. One top brand sells regular soup. and you’ll enjoy a real deal. but in some cases it is. it tastes just like the leading brand. for example. kitchen select soup. In fact. Most of the biggest. and the coupon may only be good for one category of item. size. This may seem like a really dumb step. You have to physically present ALL of your coupons at the checkout counter 55 . home-style soup. When you taste the sauce. but it's actually very important. The coupons they issue are typically good for just one of their soup categories. you might find that they’re the identical product made by the leading name-brand manufacturer. you need to MATCH your coupon to the item before you commit to the buy. POCKET the coupon. and single-serving microwavable soup for one. etc. Now that you've chosen the best possible combination. Last but not the least. If you forget to MATCH the specifics of the coupon offer to the EXACT LABEL on the soup can. POCKET. But if you try them. it would simply be too costly for them to change recipes or ingredients to produce the 'off brands'. Their off-brand version of Worcestershire sauce is in a bottle that is shaped remarkably like the #1 brand in the world.. as well as the expiration date. I mean that you should give a final check of the coupon details and the product details BEFORE you put the item into your cart.condiments and sauces. Some brands have four or five categories that are completely different. you could find that your coupon is rejected at the checkout counter – the ultimate coupon-cutter's nightmare. You've seen above why it's important to SCAN all of the shelves for the best item and REVIEW all of your coupon and sale combination.

but that's just a personal preference. if I find that I have an expired coupon. the store won't let you go back and turn your coupons in. If you do things the same way each week. to be thrown away at the first trash can I encounter. they won't be redeemed. you will systematically save money. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 7 BIG IDEA 39: The simpler the system. I use my left pocket. You can't go back! Once your shopping transaction is completed. Every minute you put into organizing your coupons will 56 . Again. BIG IDEA 40: If you can't FIND the coupons you need. but now it's gone. the easier it is to use – and the easier it is to use. the more likely you are to stick with it over time. Create your own system or use mine. So the coupons in your pocket that would have been worth $20 or $30 in actual cash savings will now be worth diddly-squat. on every shopping trip. Have you ever gotten home with your shopping bags and realized that there was an on-pack coupon that you forgot to use? Nothing is more galling than seeing a 50¢ "REDEEM ME NOW" coupon stuck to a box that you have already bought. During the course of my shopping trip. especially if you have ever gotten in your car and realized that you forgot to present your coupons at the checkout counter. And it WILL add up over time. Here's another reason why you have to be diligent in PHYSICALLY TRANSFERRING THE COUPON to your "POCKET" location for redemption. Again. and putting them all in one safe secure place. If they don't make it into the hands of the checkout clerk. Just make sure you have a true system. I crush it up and put it in my right pocket.when you are buying your groceries. and follow it like clockwork. So it's important to get in the habit of POCKETING all of the coupons you plan to use. that's just the way I do it – and it may not be the best choice for you. does this sound too elementary and ridiculous to you? It won't. You could have taken the family to the movies with that money. you can't REDEEM them.

buying more EXPENSIVE foods could actually SAVE you money. BIG IDEA 45: Don't let the high price of an item scare you off buying it. Do things the same way every time. you'll never maximize your full potential of reducing your food budget... most efficient food manufacturing plants produce and package the off-brand products. If you only consider buying familiar products or ones you've tried and used before. calculate the FINAL COST of the item in your head after factoring in the doubled coupon value. Reading the fine print can save you a bundle at the checkout counter. Plan out a mental "road map" of how you will routinely shop in that store. and you can actually SAVE MONEY by buying the EXPENSIVE brand! BIG IDEA 46: Most of the biggest. and you'll get better at them day after day. once you leave the store.be paid back to you in greater savings at the cash register. and you'll reduce your in-store time significantly. BIG IDEA 48: Make it a routine to keep your coupons in the EXACT SAME PLACE every time you go shopping. BIG IDEA 47: Don't assume that a coupon is good for all sizes / flavors / variations of a particular brand item – even if it seems to be an obvious match. BIG IDEA 41: Consistency is the key to effectiveness in any system. similarly. you'll become more alert to spotting bargains and avoiding impulse buys. don't let the 'bargain' price of an item make it your #1 choice. BIG IDEA 43: if you make a ROUTINE out of PLANNING to save money. you may get the EXACT SAME QUALITY with a generic or store-brand product. sticking to your PLAN will help you ROUTINELY save money. If you are astute and willing to do a little testing. Remember. BIG IDEA 42: Keep an open mind as to which products you would consider trying. BIG IDEA 44: Learn the layout of your grocery store(s). your coupons aren't worth the paper they're printed on… 57 . it's a sure way to remember to present them to the cashier before you pay. In other words. Follow that road map every time you do your big weekly shopping run.

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Coupon Litmus Test If you are still questioning whether or not you are a "coupon person" (or could ever become one.. people! 59 . Locate a paper shredder. (Feels good. It's true: some people have complete and total disdain for grocery coupons.Chapter 8: The Currency vs. too. Step 4. Step 1. Now.00 value against the total purchase price of your groceries. and for shock value. and find a 50¢ coupon for a product that your family uses on a regular basis. it is presented here for comparison purposes only. You may think you're not a candidate to save money. The only difference is that they were issued by different entities: one by the U. Does shredding the dollar bill bother you more than shredding the coupon? Why? At most grocery stores. Keep this one fact in mind: the grocery store cash register doesn't care which is which: it sees both items as having a $1. doesn’t it?) Take a dollar bill out of your wallet or purse. or you simply find the whole process distasteful. currency is illegal. *NOTE: Destruction of U.) here is one sure way to settle the issue once and for all. Mint. If you are concerned that you may just be this type of person. Do not actually implement this test.. I don’t waste REAL money.!) Step 3. Step 5.* (Hey wait. that’s REAL money we’re talking about. either because you just can't be bothered to clip coupons. the 50¢ coupon would have been doubled in value at the time of redemption. insert the dollar bill into the shredder. Turn the shredder on. Wake up and smell the mocha java. so it is IDENTICAL IN VALUE to the dollar bill. Step 2. Coupon Litmus Test'. Okay. chances are there is one somewhere in your office.S. and one by a food manufacturer. Look in your Sunday newspaper coupon section. try taking the 'Currency vs. and insert the 50¢ coupon into the shredder. and think they aren't worth the paper they're printed on.S.

I only purge my coupons about once every month or so. and to be perfectly honest with you. If this is your situation. It's all just part of the process. but sometimes you just don't have those extra 15 minutes. Some people say.59 for it.00 item for 29¢ and you have to pay $1. coupon in hand. The coupon you don't clip because you "can't afford that brand" could have made that item cheaper than the store brand on your next shopping trip. you're throwing away cash.CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS: purging your expired coupons. The couponer's nightmare is thinking you've just scored the ultimate trifecta: BOGO deal. the cashier informs you that the coupon you have presented is expired. The coupon that you didn't clip might be the one that you wished you had later on… Big Idea Recap – Chapter 8 BIG IDEA 49: Coupons work just like currency at the cash register. If you're throwing away the coupons from your Sunday paper. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE. or you can revel in the ones that you caught. just take an extra second to check the expiration date before you transfer the coupon to your left pocket. I've caught myself about to make a mistake like this many times. BIG IDEA 50: Unless you're an industry insider or a psychic. It only takes an extra 15 minutes or so when you're adding new coupons. When you think you're getting a $3. you don't know what's going to be on sale at your store in three or four weeks. And remember: there is no way for you to know which items will be on special at your grocery store in three or four weeks. I sometimes get in a hurry. Then. especially when you're throwing away a stack of 50 or 75 coupons that you painstakingly clipped a few months earlier. But think like a fisherman: you can whine about the ones that got away. 60 . "don't you feel like you've wasted a lot of time when you throw away expired coupons?" There is a bit of truth in this. store sells single item for half the price. you're still getting a great deal – but it's a huge let-down because you got tripped up by the fundamentals.

SCAN. 2. the regular price. You must join every club. In most stores. and typically they give you a plastic sheet with a punch-out membership card and a couple of punch out key fobs. They sell this information to data compilers and marketing firms. at every store you shop in – even if you only shop there once or twice per year. You join the club. What the store DOESN'T tell you (or at best. the only way to get the lowest prices in the grocery store is to join the store's frequent shopper club program. SHOP. Here's how these clubs work: 1. minimally tells you) is that their system is collecting information on your family's purchasing habits and product preferences. and B. Look for the special discount signs on products throughout the store. you present your card or your key fob to the cashier. 3. You will receive the club member discount price on the featured items. JOIN. 4. with a price. GET ANALYZED. You sign up for the program at the Customer Service counter. the ONLY way you can get the 'sale' prices on the item is to be a member of their shopping club. The cashier will scan the barcode on the card or key fob. and the barcode identifies you to the store's computer every time you shop there. Why? Because you will save money immediately and instantly every time you shop.Chapter 9: Clubs. They will typically show two prices: A. a store makes more money by selling this information than they do on the products you have purchased! Why is your information so valuable? The truth is individual family 61 . Cards & Counterintelligence FREQUENT SHOPPER CARDS: Value. As any astute shopper knows. the club member's price. When you go to check out. All of these items feature a barcode. and the computer will instantly recognize you as a club member. Often.

i. The national brands pay the highest shelf fees. because they know that most consumers are lazy and will buy the first product that they see in the category they are shopping for. Here's something else that few shoppers know: consumer product manufacturers pay stores a 'slot fee' for the space on their shelves. For example. "Big Brother" is alive and well. '2 for $3.e. your data can help identify trends and validate information that is VERY profitable to the grocery product industry. The market will have spoken loud and clear and saved the manufacturer a ton of money in promoting that specific product.000 and $80. he's hiding in the aisles of your grocery store. and the grocery industry wants you to buy the smallest packages of the most expensive brands at the highest prices.19. they will monitor the sales of this item by the total number of items sold. That is why a national brand gets the middle shelves that are at eye level. The buying patterns of shoppers at your local grocery store often dictate the prices you will pay. If shoppers are lazy and prove that they 62 . they will realize that they DO NOT have to lower the price of this product below this point to maintain market share. They will have learned that their target audience – affluent young families with children – are perfectly happy to buy two units at a total savings of 40¢ – and there is no need to offer a lower price point or a 'Buy one / get one free' package deal. Let's say for example that the store features a national brand of cookies at a special rate. so they make the most money off of you. and the discount store brands get the bottom shelves. your age is 35 to 40 and you have 3 children under the age of 10.information is not extremely valuable by itself. But as a member of a specific demographic group. BUT – they will also be monitoring the demographics of the people purchasing them. when the normal price of a single item is $2.000. Of course. You are a powerhouse consumer. This translates into huge sales and huge revenues for the manufacturers. They are committed to influencing you to shop this way. let's say that your household income is between $75.99'. If they find that families with your demographic indicators participate in this pricing offer 45% more than families with lower incomes.

etc. marital status. children's age. slightly more sinister. you have to fill out a registration form. Most of this information is available from national consumer databases anyway. 3. in infinite detail. they are in essence telling the store manager. talking participant in the world's largest focus group. You need to join them. To get your discount card or key tag that entitles you to discounts at the store. The real goal behind these clubs is something… well…. CLUB MEMBER CODE. PRODUCT CODE. let's look at how this happens: 1. just about every purchase you make is being monitored. As a club member. If you've ever thought that the aisles in your grocery store can seem like a rat maze in a testing laboratory. Welcome to the Maze. although they will. street address. too. before you get shocked or scared or decide to quit the shopper's club (a truly BAD idea). you're not too far off the mark. But the main purpose of these clubs is not to save you money. Every item in the store carries a product code. REGISTRATION. Every different size / shape / flavor has a unique code that is captured when the check-out clerk scans the package. you can see it below the barcode on the package. you can't keep any secrets from the grocery store's computer. etc. recorded and analyzed for future use by marketing firms.will pay any cost for a particular item. Guess what product that code 63 . (ever notice that they ALWAYS keep the cheese in the back of the store…?) The truth of the matter is that shoppers' clubs are the ultimate tool used by the food industry to make you a walking. They may ask you for some demographic information such as your age. "PLEASE RAISE OUR PRICES!" And guess what? The manager will gladly comply… This is all a long way of saying that discount clubs will save you money every time you shop. Now. That little store tag you keep on your key chain has a barcode. The computer knows what every item is. 2. You tell them your name.

1 bottles per month. surely they're keeping it private – aren't they??? Well.represents? It's YOU. manufacturer "B" may 'cut to the chase' quicker by purchasing this information. NO. packaged it. And these guys know all about the low-hanging fruit.4 bottles of Italian salad dressing per month. In fact. does it? No. But it doesn't know that you like to sneak out and get a pint of premium ice cream on a Saturday night. where you live. getting you to buy more stuff at a higher price and consume it faster. And it knows that you tried a competing grocery chain in August because the 1. SHARED DATA. The ultimate solution being.6 that month. So if manufacturer "A" has a wealth of information on the salad dressing preferences in a particular metropolitan area. no. Scary stuff. They've picked it. The information saves them time. But wait a minute – isn't it true that the affluent neighborhoods sell more of everything at a higher price. this falls under the category of 'picking the lowest-hanging fruit first'. and what you buy. 4. But if you view the nation as a giant pyramid based on affluence. in a word. but prefer the name brand variety. the top 1/10th of that 64 .4 bottle level dropped to 0. their loyal customer? This information is worth BIG BUCKS to people in the industry. so the manufacturers just focus on THOSE markets? Why would they mess with the many lower or middle-income neighborhoods in the nation? Actually. shipped it. huh? And that's just the tip of the iceberg lettuce…. It knows that you have tried the store brand dressing once. If your grocery store chain knows all of these intimate details about your household. The computer knows who you are. Why would they do this to you. and they can reap this data to sell more of THEIR product using the data. so they can get to the ultimate solution faster. It knows that you got crazy last November and tried the balsamic vinaigrette but it probably wasn't a hit because you didn't buy it again. and sold it for years. compared to your neighbor across the street whose family consumes 2. they'll sell it to just about anyone who wants it. They can save a year or more of expensive research time. people whose job is to SELL YOU MORE STUFF! Information is money and time is money. no… Of course it DOES know that your household consumes 1.

3 million other shoppers like Betty who live in similar-size communities and make similar levels of income. they can use the same technique to influence the 15. So Betty starts getting some really interesting coupons in the mail or through the internet (see the online coupon section at the end of this book. and lo and behold – the kids could care less whether they're eating Fruit Goop or Berry Blop. let's look at a fictitious customer "Betty" who lives in a smaller rural city. and they'd sure like Betty to migrate over to their brands. GOOD DATA = GOOD VALUES.7 boxes for the past 3 years – has dwindled to…. 5. You're part of a larger consumer group. The good part of this whole process is that you are proving your worth to the food industry with every purchase you make. So Betty redeems the coupon and brings the cereal home.) These values can help Betty really save some cash. but she's doing alright. but the information on your buying habits is just as important – and possibly even MORE important – than the buying habits of rich people on Rodeo Drive. but the big family-size boxes. Her kids seem to like "Fruit Goop" cereal. because she's buying 4. So the kids are happy.7 boxes per month – and not the smaller boxes. After all. if only she would try them. To see how this works. Betty's happy because she saved a lot of cash. the majority of the profit for these food manufacturers is found in the secondary markets and lower. But the story doesn't end there… The manufacturers of Fruit Goop cereal notice that Betty's volume – a steady 4. ZERO 65 . The bottom 90% of the pyramid is the lower to middle-income neighborhoods.pyramid is the affluent markets. The manufacturers of "Berry Blop" cereal are envious. not just the wealthiest households. Betty doesn't make a huge income. SIMPLY PUT: you may live in Podunk. EVERY consumer in America is of interest to the food manufacturers. and the food manufacturer is happy because he's successfully migrated Betty away from Fruit Goop. if they can figure out how to get her to switch brands and become a loyal customer of theirs. Based on sheer numbers.

BOXES! Flashing red lights and alarms are going off in the factory. "Something must be done," shouts the big boss with the cigar in his mouth. And so the legions of marketers snap into action and start blitzing Betty with huge discounts on Fruit Goop cereal. So now she can redeem these coupons on Fruit Goop and save even more money. The kids, meanwhile, are mass-consuming whatever she pours into their bowls. They're oblivious. Betty is ecstatic; her monthly food bills are going down. But wait, there's more… The manufacturer of Berry Blop notices that he's losing out again. He redoubles his effort – issuing even more coupons for the brand that he knows Betty's brood prefers two to one over Fruit Goop. So Betty uses those coupons on her next shopping trip. Repeat this cycle over and over, until the Betty clan outgrows their preference for excessivelysugared products, and wakes up to real nutrition. Then, the manufacturers start in on her new neighbors who have younger kids… While cynical and exaggerated, the example of "Betty" above is the basic process of couponing in America today. And while the delivery vehicles are not always so targeted, the industry is headed more and more in this direction. Take note of the coupons that are printed at the cash register: these are the principal ammunition in the household preference wars. Some coupons are printed and delivered directly to the household, but these are on a more infrequent basis due to the high cost. The biggest volume of activity in these wars takes place on a market-by-market level. The industry looks at overall performance by select demographic groups, and responds to the market as a whole by varying the coupon amounts and promotional activity by individual market. This is far more prevalent than individual household couponing. But the industry is getting more household-centric as technology gets more advanced. And certain changes in our technology-savvy households are closer than you think… 6. GUESS WHO'S COMING TO (TV) DINNER? (Apologies to Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier and Katharine Hepburn). Did you know that over-the-air TV broadcast is ending in 2009? More and more households are buying High Definition TV sets (HDTV), and soon everyone will have a digital receiver (or 2, 3, 4 or more) in their household. The color and clarity will be fantastic. The number and

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diversity of the channels will be spectacular. And the commercials? Well, they'll be aimed directly between your eyes, or more specifically – your wallet. Let's say your name is Suzy Shopper and your neighbor across the street is Charlie Consumer, and you're both watching the latest chapter of "Desperate Cowgirls", the #1 network show far and wide. When it goes to commercial, you – Suzy Shopper – are viewing a commercial for the latest gas-guzzling vehicle to sputter out of Detroit. That's because you're driving a seven year old import, and your index potential for a new car purchase in the next six months is off the charts. Your neighbor Charlie, meanwhile, is viewing a commercial for golf clubs, because he plays golf six times a month. Hey – wait a minute – how did they know he's a golfer and I'm driving an old car??? And how the heck did they change those commercials out between our two households…??? This is simple stuff with the new technology in place today. And as far as knowing your lifestyle / hobbies / major purchases and brand preference? Heck, they even know what brand toothpaste you use… So how does this relate to you, Suzy Shopper and Charlie Consumer, each snug in your little condos in front of your blazing hot widescreen Plasma HDTVs? The marketers are coming for you both – individually and personally – and they're out for nothing less than total mind control. Okay, that sounded a little out there even for me… but the truth is that your buying habits are being monitored and addressed on increasingly-specific levels. The war for your wallet is gearing up for high speed, high-tech battle. And in the grand scheme of things, you are powerless to stop it. Sure, you can TiVo your way out of the commercials. But guess what? Soon enough, you won't WANT to. And here's why: Here you are, Suzy Shopper, watching the Cowgirls prance across your screen. Before you can grab the remote, a commercial for the new "MegaSmog V8 convertible" comes across your screen, and the graphic says, "Suzy – we'll pay you $100 to test drive this car today!" And you're thinking, "WOW – I could really use that $100 to buy 5 gallons

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of gas for my current car, but I'm never going to buy a new car; I'll just go down there and get my free cash!" So you go down to the dealership, and you get your $100. The dealer is happy, too, because he knows that you are an interested shopper. He will continue to target you until you finally convert and buy the new car. It's a numbers game, so he's just happy to move you up the priority ladder among prospects. Meanwhile, your neighbor Charlie was previously watching Desperate Cowgirls, but he got bored and switched over to the Knitting Network. Guess what? The commercials followed him over there. In the future (i.e. now, or thereabouts), advertisers will buy time by households, segmented by very precise demographic indicators, rather than by blocks of time on a network. So whatever channel you select, you'll get a certain amount of household-specific offers. So Charlie is watching "Knit One / Purl, Too!" – on the knitting Network, his favorite hobby channel, and up comes a commercial for the latest set of golf clubs from Wham-Co. Charlie is perfectly happy with his old set of clubs, but the ad says, "Hey Charlie – come to Gargantuan Golf World this weekend, and we'll give you a dozen balls free – just for testing our new clubs.” Charlie was headed there to pick up some new balls anyway, so he says "what the heck" and heads off to the store. Soon thereafter, he's on the driving range blasting away with his new set of Wham-Co clubs, which, as he discovered at the store, he simply could not live without… THE MORAL OF THE STORY: It's really quite simple: whether you are a prospect for a new car, a set of golf clubs, or a year's supply of Fruit Goop cereal, your shopping selections are VERY IMPORTANT to manufacturers today. If you learn how to play their game and work their system, you can enjoy some real values and real savings. You may scoff at grocery coupons today. But coupons are coming your way, even if you never open the Sunday newspaper or read your mail: they will simply be delivered electronically. And you will WANT to view them and redeem them.

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he's hiding in the aisles of your grocery store. So I don't have any problem in recommending shopping club membership to everyone. and the truth is that this process will go on very well without you. Much of this data originates from the lowly-little 'frequent shopper club' tag sitting on your key chain. so there are immediate benefits to you that can help your family's budget. be aware that every purchase you make – or don’t make – is being monitored. BIG IDEA 53: The buying patterns of shoppers at your local grocery store often dictate the prices you will pay. the bargains are well worth it. getting the most for your shopping dollar is first and foremost. but you need to know that you’re part of one of the world’s largest focus groups of all time. and they will continue to do it in the future. If you are a member of a frequent-shopper club. every day. 69 . so make an informed decision for you and your family that matches your personal preferences and comfort levels. "PLEASE RAISE OUR PRICES!" And guess what? The manager will gladly comply… BIG IDEA 54: Get a frequent shopper cart at every grocery store you visit. you DO end up saving money when you use the club card. thank you. Affix a "sucker" label to your forehead and tell people proudly that you pay full price. If shoppers are lazy and prove that they will pay any cost for a particular item. There is really no down side to this or personal repercussions. you "don't have time" to save money. Is this whole process a bad thing or a good thing? Well. for every item in the store. BIG IDEA 52: "Big Brother" is alive and well. You're really not helping any cause or righting any wrongs by NOT participating in the program. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 9 BIG IDEA 51: If you "don't have time" to sign up for the grocery store shopper's club. Are there long-term disadvantages? That is a debatable subject.The firms that purchase your family's shopping habits and brand preferences from your local grocery store are doing it now. they are in essence telling the store manager. But in my book. even if you only shop there once or twice a year. The decision to join the club or not join the club is a personal one.

But coupons are coming your way. You'll get more offers and better values over time. You'll still get the card and enjoy the discounts. you can enjoy increasing amounts of free stuff. Box. BIG IDEA 59: You may scoff at grocery coupons today. If you're traveling on vacation and need groceries. Of course. The sooner you start the process. not just the wealthiest households. And you will WANT to view them and redeem them. because you’ll get lots of free stuff and better deals on virtually everything you buy – even cars. even if you never open the Sunday newspaper or read your mail: they will simply be delivered electronically. but it will be harder for the store to link this to your home address.BIG IDEA 55: Concerned about privacy? Register using your work address. cell phones and other high-ticket items. and you could save $10 or $20 just on your one visit. the more interest you will attract from food marketers. BIG IDEA 58: Today's brand marketers know a LOT about you already. HDTV sets. discounts and special values that other people won't enjoy. 70 . The shopping actions of a lower-income household are monitored just as closely as those of the most affluent households. you'll have to pay with cash because they can get your address off your check or your credit/ debit card.O. If you learn how to play their game. or a P. BIG IDEA 60: Sign up for frequent shopper clubs at every grocery store you visit. BIG IDEA 57: The more coupons you redeem. the sooner you'll get into the higher discount levels. get a card at the grocery store in that area. you'll get the card immediately. even if you don't plan to return anytime soon. BIG IDEA 56: EVERY consumer in America is of interest to the food manufacturers.

hair coloring. even if you don't normally shop there. this one technique alone could save you over $1. when they're 71 . If you visit 3 stores a month. The store that you use to get your prescriptions filled is generally the store that you get your drug store supplies from. toupee wax. When it comes to pharmacies.800 a year. The store doesn't care about giving $20 or $30 in rebate money to a senior. it's the seniors. Visit all the major drug store chain stores in your area at least once a month. The rebate club offers can allow you to get as much as $50 in FREE merchandise each month. and every item was something that somebody in my family could use. Here's a money-saving tip: wander over there at least once a month. you could literally get $150 in FREE stuff each month – up to $1. aka “Your Check’s in the Mail” Why you should join every one you can. you rarely – if ever – venture over to the 'brand X' pharmacy.000 a year on drug store supplies! It's no secret that the pharmacy chains are in big competition with each other. The target for these clubs is not the income-earning. because some people get their prescriptions at the food store. so most of the big chains offer rebate clubs. What is a rebate club? Simply put. etc. These are typically found at the larger drug store chains. it is an ongoing store promotion that lets you purchase items and get some or all of the purchase price back in the form of a cash rebate. My record on free items is $62 in one month. Even if you're not super-diligent or the offers aren't that lucrative every month of the year. but people do tend to have their #1 favorite in terms of where they buy their shampoo. (Does anyone use toupee wax anymore? There's a question for the ages…) So if you're like most people. Seniors spend more per capita on prescriptions than any other demographic group. It's not always true.Chapter 10: The Power of Rebate Clubs. just to pick up their rebate club flyer. which issue a monthly flyer of offers. people are definitely creatures of habit. hard-working youth of America.

00. a $7. You have to check these carefully.00 or $3. because they don't want low-dollar customers to take advantage of the rebates. $2.00 off the purchase price of the item. it's really free. The truth is that the stores cannot legally exclude any individual from getting the rebates.e.00 rebate on a $2. unless you are super-diligent and/or a frequent visitor to that store anyway. the first free item may earn you a 100% rebate. In other words. but you have to purchase it between the 8th and 16th of the month. CHECK THE OFFER DATES. the next item may also give you a 100% rebate. One major drug store chain that will go unnamed has started to stagger their rebate offers throughout the month. but in some tourist destinations you have to ask the cashier for a copy of the rebate book.99 rebate for buying it. This is a subtle way by which they try to discourage the 'freebie' nuts that will take anything for free – even if they don't want or need it. 72 4. REVIEW THE OFFERS. but it's really more trouble than it's worth. but you must buy it between the first and 7th of the month. but they don't want people buying it just because of that. Here's how rebate club programs typically work: 1. (HINT: be a 'freebie' nut. MAIL IN THE REBATE REQUEST.99 item.going to buy $200 or $300 in prescriptions each month. 2. In most drug stores. I have found that some national chains offer the rebate club in all markets. the flyer is on a rack as you enter the store. It's critical that you check the valid dates of the offer. Be sure to process your . GET THE REBATE BOOK OR FLYER.) 3. You will typically find items that are offered with a 100% rebate. You may be a struggling young family with a little cash in the bank but you are entitled to get the rebates just like anyone else. Or it could be that they only want to offer the book to seniors. i. Apparently. but they only tell you this in the fine print. because some manufacturers will offer a $3. Others will be $1. they don't want tourists with disposable cash to get a break on anything – especially if they're ready to pay full price without question.99 bottle of sun tan lotion with a $7. They're trying to encourage repeat visits.

CHECK THE POSTMARK DATE REQUIREMENTS. you can photocopy your outer envelope with the postmark date. "I'll do it later" – because out of sight is out of mind. and they are counting on you to procrastinate. The sad truth is that a very high percentage of people who intend to mail in their rebate requests never quite get around to it. you'll have proof of mailing it in. but you can bet that I called them out on it and eventually got my rebate. Some rebates require that you cut out the barcode off the product. KEEP A PHOTO COPY. or write the product’s barcode number down on your rebate form. 7. READ THE REQUIREMENTS. don't procrastinate: set a filing procedure that works for you and stick to it. What you DON'T want to do is say. The stores really don’t want to give you the rebate. I was once denied a $50 rebate check because the store’s cash register didn’t date the receipt. Read the fine print. How does a cash register malfunction and not print the date? It’s beyond me. because some of these stores will deny you the rebate if you don't do everything they say. 5. and most people will surely forget to do the paperwork – thus. your mail-in request MUST be postmarked by February 5th. SIDE NOTE: if you are allowed to use your company postage meter. which is the next critical point. 6. Think you can ‘slide’? Don’t count on it. The retailers call this "breakage". if you are responding to a January Rebate Club offer. After a few months. or they will refuse it. For most clubs.rebate request and mail it off IMMEDIATELY when you get home. Another critical item is the postmark date on your mail-in rebate request. Some of the less-scrupulous clubs or their 3rd party vendors will try to get around sending you a rebate check. It's a good practice to photocopy everything and keep in a file. If you want to be sure you get every extra dollar that's coming to you. Here's a rule that works for me: I don't allow myself to put the products away until I have completed the rebate forms AND sealed the envelope. if you haven't gotten your rebate. That gives you positive proof that you mailed it 73 . exactly the way they say it. they lose their rebate – and that is what the drug store chains are counting on. so they’ll use any and all excuses not to issue the rebate check. How did I do it? I had back-up ammunition.

rather than have them issue you a check. it becomes your word against theirs – and having a back-up plan can help settle the dispute in your favor. Some stores use a magnetic stripe gift card to provide rebate funds. which saves the rebate company a lot of cash. Using my photocopies. Plus. and a welltimed call to a 1-800-number can often get you quick service on your rebate request. It may seem trivial. USE YOUR GIFT CARD'S STORED VALUE FIRST. I've gone to the store manager and pointed out that I did everything I was asked to. 74 The downside of rebate clubs is that your cash is tied up for 30 to 60 . You don't earn interest by keeping the value on the card.within the proper timeframe. but only mail out checks to a small portion of the consumers. And I wouldn't be shocked if the third party processing companies turn in 100% of the rebate requests to the retailer. BUG 'EM IF THEY'RE LATE. If your store puts your rebate amount on a gift card. Some companies intentionally do not mail rebate checks unless the consumer calls to complain. Don't be afraid to call the rebate company if they're late mailing you a check. and simply turned my photocopies in to their regional managers. it's a huge kick to buy the next month's freebies with a gift card. so you're actually getting more free stuff without spending any actual cash… 10. It's a handy way to get a little extra cash back. and you can't turn it in for cash. use it first when making purchases at the store. 8. but on more than one occasion I have had a rebate processing company deny my rebate claiming that I violated rule X. It's cheaper for them than issuing checks. it's good money management. The store managers have always made good on the rebate offers. 9. one major chain offers you a 10% 'bump' in your rebate total if you'll allow them to post the rebate amount to your rechargeable gift card. Proving this would be difficult. CASH SECOND. then pay any remaining balance with cash. but that's not my concern: I just want what's coming to me. Plus. This may seem like a lot of work. So always use the credit before using real cash. but if you're denied a $50 or greater rebate like I was. USE THE STORE'S GIFT CARD PLAN. They're counting on a large number of respondents simply forgetting about it.

So I could easily get a total of $8. deposit it and IMMEDIATELY write a check in the exact amount to your credit card company. good on a select manufacturer's brand of soaps and shampoos: buy any 3 and get $3. The headline read.00 off. because stores in my area only double up to 50¢ – one up to 99¢ – and these coupons were all above that value. Alarms will go off. Sorry – there is no way around this one. and you'll be pinned to the floor with an AK47 pointed at your forehead. The Most Amazing. Another secret about shopping at the big-box drug stores that you may never have heard of is the availability of multiple coupon redemption.00 off on three brand-name products! There are several things you should be aware of.) 75 . that may be a little bit exaggerated." In checking the other coupons. then. if you do it right. In most grocery stores. when the rebate check arrives. presenting a second coupon for a single item will cause the cash register to error out. Since you need them and are going to buy them anyway – regardless of the cost – it's well worth your time to apply for and get all the rebates that are available. and the stores don't like it and won't accept it. but you get the point: double-coupon presentment is fraud. Why is it. If you are really cash-strapped. Well-Hidden Drug Store Shopping Secret. the secret 'coupon police' in dark suits with sunglasses will come rushing in. many of which are only available from a pharmacy and not a dollar store. "Save even more with manufacturer coupons found in today's paper. I found a $2. and $1.00 off coupons on several others.00 store coupon issued by the retailer. Then. Well. I would suggest putting the purchases on a credit card. You can use the rebate amount to purchase the next month's rebate items.00 off coupon on one brand of shampoo. Most drug stores do NOT double coupons like the grocery stores do. that some drug stores not only accept it but ENCOURAGE it? It's true! A recent flyer in my Sunday newspaper showed a $3. You only have to do this once.days while your rebate form is being processed. however: • No Doubling. (No big deal here. Rebate clubs give you money back on everyday items that you're probably buying already.

you could literally get $150 in FREE stuff each month – up to $1. even if you don't normally shop there. the items are usually priced at full retail value – so you're starting from the highest price-point possible. this one technique alone could save you over $1. The rebate club offers can allow you to get as much as $50 in FREE merchandise each month.800 a year. bounce and shine – getting premium products makes all the difference in the world. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 10 BIG IDEA 61: Visit all of the major drug store chain stores in your area at least once a month. And if you have teenagers in the family whose entire world revolves around hair volume. Since you need them and are going to buy them anyway – regardless of the cost – it's well worth your time to apply for and get all of the rebates that are available. If you visit 3 stores a month.00 per item for premium products – in this case hair care items. When the drug store puts out savings like this. many of which are only available from a pharmacy and not a dollar store. the savings are still well worth the effort of claiming them. Even if you're not super-diligent or the offers aren't that lucrative every month of the year.• No Price Reductions. It gives you a double-whammy of savings and often makes it possible for you to buy the super-premium brands at a price that is less than the 'bargain' no-name products! 76 . however. at the same time.000 a year on drug store supplies! BIG IDEA 62: Rebate clubs give you money back on everyday items that you're probably buying already.00 on a total purchase price of $14 for three items is a bargain among bargains – you end up paying $2. BIG IDEA 63: Some drug store chains will let you redeem both STORE coupons and MANUFACTURER coupons for the same item. All that said. Saving $8.

1. Unless the fine print specifically says that all sizes and flavors qualify. you can buy up to two of any particular item – any more of that item will not count towards the ten-item minimum. Remember that this offer gives you back $0. using the 'buy 10' offer as an example.) There may be a date limit to your purchase. but the photo may show a certain flavor or packaging style of that product. so this one is obvious. Also. so you can't use last week's receipt if the starting date is from this week's newspaper. bottles of Fizzy-Soda. LOOK AT THE PHOTO. The fine print may say that the offer is good on a particular brand of product. minus the cost of the envelope and stamp to mail it back in. Another key thing to watch is the quantity per individual item that is allowed. In this case. so be sure you follow them so you'll actually get the rebate check in the mail rather than a "we're sorry" notice.50 per item purchased. circling each of the ten on the receipt. assume that their 77 . 2. the offer may require that you mail in the original coupon and not use a photocopy or printout off a rebate website. cans of Fizzy-Soda may not qualify if the coupon specifically requires that you buy 16 oz. READ THE FINE PRINT. Here are some of the 'secrets' of gaining the best value with a rebate. As always – there are details and conditions you have to know. read it. The offer may require that you send in the original cash register receipt for each of the 10 items. A typical example is "$5 cash back when you buy 10 of your favorites!" The ad will show a photo of the items you have to buy to get the rebate. They may require a certain size / flavor / packaging of the product (12 oz.Chapter 11: A Rebate Returned is Money Earned INDIVIDUAL PRODUCT OR BRAND REBATES: Are they worth the effort? YES!!! One way that manufacturers attempt to boost the sales of their entire product line is to offer a cash back deal when you buy a certain number of their products. But instead of just giving the fine print a cursory glance. and understand it BEFORE you shop – or you could be off the rebate money. Okay.

49 $19. meal helper mixes – mostly the highest-priced items in the offer. See if you can guess why these items weren't shown: soup.89 $2. Other products are listed in the fine print as qualifying for the offer.49 Biscuits in a Tube $1. A little detective work can often greatly increase the value you get from the rebate.50 $1.70 (35¢ coupon) $1.49 $2.80 (40¢ coupon) $0.39 $1. and use coupons when purchasing as many of the 10 items as possible.89 $3.39 Frozen Waffle Sticks $3.78 Quantity 2 ($0.50 $0.10 (55¢ coupon) $0.70 (35¢ coupon) $0.89 each) Frozen Carrots $1.50 $0. 2) $0.01) $0. Here's why: a. canned vegetables and their entire line of Mexican food products. In one example.30) $0. LOOK AT WHAT'S NOT IN THE PHOTO.50 $0.00 per can.99 'Helper' Meal Mix $2.09 $3. the photo shows the higher-priced items – kids-size yogurt tubes.50 $0. yogurt drinks.10 (55¢ coupon) $1.99 FINAL COST $24.70 (35¢ coupon) $1.00 (50¢ coupon) $0.08 $3. b.59 Yogurt in a Tube $3.00 (qty. they're also on sale quite frequently. but they're not shown in the photo. c. and you can also find coupons for them from time to time. To get the maximum value for your effort. The Mexican food line is also heavily couponed.30 TOTAL SAVINGS $0 78 $1.00) .30) $0.intention is that you buy the one shown in the photo. meaning you can find coupons for these items every day in numerous places.50 $0.10 (55¢ coupon) $1.59 Baking Mix $3.59 $0.30 ($5.89 Can Green Beans $1.00 ($13.59 Croissants in a Tube $1.78 $0. Here's why: Item Cost Retail Price Savings With Doubled Coupons Rebate Amount On This Item Net Cost of Item After Rebate AND Coupons Net Cost of Item After Rebate Only (No Coupons) Cereal A $3. plus they have many lower cost items like refried beans which are often priced at less than $1.29 ($0.99 $1.10 (55¢ coupon) ($8.39 $1.09 $1. your mission should be to purchase the 10 lowest-price items that will qualify for the offer. 3.39 $11.39 $0. kids' fruit snacks.99 $1.09 $2.50 - $2. The soup line is already heavily couponed. While the name brand canned vegetables are typically more expensive than the store brands.50 $0.

but this one technique can generate $100 to $300 per year in savings: it's like getting your groceries FREE for 1 or 2 weeks out of the year. you'll save over 45% on the same groceries! Big Idea Recap – Chapter 11 BIG IDEA 64: There’s no doubt about it: mail-in rebates are a real pain in the neck. $20 or $30 a month on groceries. the rebate was a good deal to begin with – by itself it saved you almost 26% on the groceries. 79 . But if you use the coupons in combination with the rebate. It doesn't sound like much. But if you DO make the effort. you can save an extra $10. due to all of the paperwork you have to complete.As you can see. The manufacturers are counting on you NOT to make the effort.

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500 per year after taxes. or a total of $21. The Jones family earns a salary of $36. Restaurants must maintain their budgets and a high level of profit margin. if they are to remain viable and profitable. This is the primary reason that chefs look for the lowest-cost provider of the CORE ingredients they use in their restaurant. spices. (Note that this is DIFFERENT from the FEATURED ingredients or SPECIALTY items). let's look at a fictitious family. they can spend a total of $150 per week at the grocery store.Chapter 12: The Economics of Food Grocery Selections = Operating Margin In the restaurant business – as in any business – the difference between the COST OF THE INGREDIENTS and the SALE PRICE of the prepared food item is called the MARGIN. 81 . etc.43 per day on meals. Assuming that the Jones family eats every breakfast and dinner at home. This margin of profitability determines how much PROFIT the restaurant will make at the end of the day. Your home budget has a MARGIN as well. Here's how this $100 per day is spent: Mortgage: 35% Utilities: 10% Home Maintenance: 5% Insurance / Health Care: 10% Clothing / Personal: 10% Auto: 5% Savings / Retirement: 5% Food / Entertainment: 20% TOTAL: 100% This family's budget for food and entertainment is $20 per day. We're talking about flour. This gives them a total spending allotment of $600 per month. for an even average take-home amount of $100 per day. dairy products. Learning how to control your margin can make a huge difference in how well your family lives. – items they use each and every day. and 'brown bags' their lunches. For an example.

the family budget will fail and the family will eventually declare bankruptcy or lean on parents or other relatives to bail them out financially. So let's take a look at smart choices you can make to get the absolute most out of your grocery dollar. or reduce in one of the other areas. Every item that you can buy for less will IMPROVE your operating margin. the area that must give way is the owner's paycheck. month after month. the MARGIN determines whether the establishment will show a profit at the end of the month or not. reduce or eliminate their savings. If the restaurant consistently fails to create a margin of profit. At a restaurant. Every item that you can buy for less will IMPROVE your operating margin. the business will fail. The success of your family's annual budget depends on staying within – or below – your budgetary margin consistently. Operate your home kitchen the same way that a professional chef operates their kitchen: as a business. The success of your family's annual budget depends on staying within or below your budgetary margin consistently. 82 . If the restaurant doesn't show a profit. if the food expenditure exceeds the budgeted 20%. At the Jones household. every item that you pay full price for will DETRACT from your operating margin.43 per day. month after month. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 12 BIG IDEA 65: Operate your home kitchen the same way that a professional chef operates his or her kitchen: as a business. If the family's total expenditure consistently outstrips their income. Often. the family must do without new clothing. or whether they will need to take money away from the other budgeted items to meet their grocery bill.The MARGIN for the Jones family is whether they can actually feed their family on $21. cancel their insurance. the owner doesn't get a paycheck. This is why it is important to stretch your family budget as much as possible. every item that you pay full price for will DETRACT from your operating margin. and why the choices you make at the grocery store CAN and WILL impact all areas of your family's life.

household supplies and personal care items. go see your doctor. They are: • BUY BIG. totally apart from using coupons or obtaining store discounts. milk and a few ingredients and grow everything else in your backyard. I don't advocate going 'back to your roots' and only buying raw materials. That approach simply doesn't work if you have a fulltime job. You may be in the habit of buying the smallest item because you want the least-expensive item. but by selecting the smallest package you are probably paying more per ounce than if you bought the bigger package. a social life. as long as you and your family can consume them before they expire or lose their freshness. 83 . and/or kids in school. If you typically buy a small jar of peanut butter every two weeks. This same rule of thumb applies to hundreds of everyday grocery items. Mom needs a break too. let alone tackle a return to an allnatural lifestyle. get some professional advice. The big jar typically contains twice as much. telling you that you only need to buy a sack of flour. and put a plan in place. I'm not a doctor. If you want to change your diet. and frankly I don't care what foods you choose to buy or eat. some eggs. What I hope to do here is give you some ideas on how to enjoy the foods you want to eat. Most of us are lucky to find a halfhour to ourselves every other day. consider buying the big jar every 4 weeks. but only costs about 40% to 50% more. let's leave it at that. That's nice if your cup of tea is cooking everything from scratch and tending a garden for two or three hours a day. you know. That's all. It doesn't fit too well with modern life. Another thing I'm not advocating is a change in your diet. There are three major ways to cut your grocery bill. Many writers have covered that territory. while paying less for them. Most of us need or justifiably want the conveniences of prepared foods to reduce our time in the kitchen. that's fine. Get larger sizes of items.Chapter 13: Smart Grocery Choices & Core Ingredients Let me start by saying that I'm not preaching here.

But it's not the best you can do price-wise. Put two or three of the item on your back shelf. beef. when you consider the cost of eating the same type of meal at a restaurant. • BUY BASIC. How? Let's look at the core ingredients. A bag of this mixture probably costs about $5. Select according to your taste & dietary preferences. you may not use any of the following core ingredients in your food selections. pork. rice and sauce. (unless you have teenagers and a 5 lb. and will sort of feed the average four-person family adequately. rather than preassembled mixtures of core ingredients.• MAKE TIMELY BUYS. A frozen dinner mixture may contain bite-size nuggets of chicken. stock up & save. Let's use a frozen all-in-one dinner mix as an example. if it's available now at half the cost or below. Currently.00 to $6. invest in additional units of items when they are at their lowest cost. Buy the core ingredients of recipes.00. plus chopped broccoli. Stock up when items are on sale. 84 . Find the logical middle ground that works for you and your schedule. bag of food is an appetizer…) That's not too bad. as long as the items are not highly perishable or they have a fairly decent shelf life. but for most families they are already a core part of their diet – often without consciously selecting them: • Potatoes • Onions • Carrots • Tomatoes • Mixed Vegetables – Seasonal • Rice • Pasta • Meats: chicken. • Alternative Core Ingredients: Tofu. and cooking the same meal from scratch could cost you less than half this much. Sweet Potatoes. But buy the primary ingredients of recipes rather than the put-together final products. Grits. There is a middle ground between buying a prepared baking mixture and growing your own wheat. Bulgar Wheat. Again. etc. As long as you will eventually consume the item. even if you won't need them for six months or a year.

starting from core ingredients will almost always be less expensive. the garlic isn't really zingy. cooked broccoli . and they're not idiots. 85 . The vast majority of these pre-mixed food items are very high in quality. sliced . it's an okay meal. It's sustenance.Various spices in minute amounts .The pre-blended mixture contains roughly the following ingredients: .One to one and a half chicken breasts cut in pieces. And. cooked and frozen a long time ago. and it's ready to serve. isn't it? PERISH THE THOUGHT! Dinnertime should be about enjoying your food.One or two cooked carrots. and that's what dinnertime is all about. So overall. color and smell of a fresh-cooked meal – that's the difference between simply eating and eating well. cook on low for about 10 minutes. chopped .Two or three cups of chopped. the fresh vegetables can actually be higher. But in combination with all of the other elements that go into a meal. but nothing to rave about.Two or three cups of cooked rice .Various preservatives and chemicals (sorry. savoring the taste. The broccoli and carrots are kind of mushy. because they were cooked a few months ago and frozen. In some cases. except there's usually not as much chicken as you would like. doesn't it? You dump the contents of the bag into a saucepan. am I saying that ALL pre-mixed dinners or boxes of pre-cooked side dishes are bad? NO – of course not! The food companies are not bad people.One or two garlic cloves. either. Are All Mixes Bad? Of Course Not! Now.1/4 cup of soy sauce . and you can save a lot of time and effort by using them. The cost difference between frozen / boxed / dehydrated vegetables and fresh vegetables is not always huge. . But just be aware that you are paying a price for this convenience. The quality of the food is reasonably acceptable. because it was chopped. had to mention this…) Sounds like a lot.

many of these pre-mixed food products are very good. But for everyone / everything else. WHICH you wouldn't ever do. Is it bad stuff? Well. so they'll be on hand when you need them. The more you get back to basics in your meal preparation. you can go back to the core ingredients and replicate these mixes with fresh ingredients. the lower the cost per serving. Stock up on them when the pricing is right. But with a box of ready-to-go stuffing mix. and you can easily cut your food costs in HALF. when you buy pre-mixed / preseasoned / prepared meals. All I'm suggesting here is that you buy them when they're on sale. For example. If you are cooking for one. you can reduce your total cost of food. and you have a coupon for them. buying small makes sense. or you eat like a church mouse. many. or the items you buy are very perishable. BIG IDEA 67: Generally speaking. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 13 BIG IDEA 66: By using core ingredients to prepare your family's meals. resulting in better quality for less money. the more you will lower your cost of food. So no – it's NOT bad stuff. you can have fresh stuffing in about 5 or 10 minutes. it's actually pretty darned good stuff! The moral of this story: many. it's made of bread and spices. IF you were starting from scratch. Develop a set of time-saving recipes that use core ingredients. the smaller the package – the greater the cost per ounce / pound.Variety – and Pre-Mixed Foods – Can Be A GOOD Thing! Some pre-mixed or prepared foods allow you to enjoy items you would rarely cook from scratch – if ever. 86 . so it's just about the same thing YOU would make. and they can save you a lot of time. you are paying a HUGE mark-up for the service. And in many cases. Just remember this: in most cases. would you make fresh stuffing if you had to start with the bread and spices and mix it all yourself? Probably not. the bigger the package. Pre-packaged meals can cost up to 5 times as much as the same meal prepared from scratch.

BIG IDEA 69: Whenever you buy pre-mixed / pre-seasoned / prepared meals. but you'll be saving a lot of cash down the road. grab 2 or 3 and stash them away for future use. grab it. 87 . You'll be investing a little cash now. you are paying a HUGE mark-up for the service. If it's a non-perishable item.BIG IDEA 68: When you see a bargain. The more you get back to basics in your meal preparation. the more you will lower your cost of food.

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of course. and then count the dishes that have multiple core ingredients. whip them.001 things with a potato. The greatest chefs in the world all cook the same way: they start with a core ingredient at the base and then they add something to it to make it unique. Of course. Cook them. many Chinese and Japanese dishes revolve around rice. Example: a potato. many middleeastern dishes revolve around grains. many Irish dishes revolve around potatoes. and many Indian and southern Asian dishes revolve around a vegetable base. very simple. there are exceptions to every rule. You will be amazed at how simple the vast majority of dishes really are. Add a touch of seasoning and they're on just about everyone's top-10 list. But the next time you are in your favorite restaurant. but deep down basic food is pretty darn good to begin with! Example: a carrot. some dishes are more elaborate and require multiple base items. Tomatoes are so flavorpacked.Chapter 14: Real Food. fry them. Example: a tomato. It rarely needs any improvement. Real Cooking Let me be frank here: cooking is actually very. You really don't have to do a lot of fancy cooking to make good food when you start with nature's finest. 89 . and delicious. A little enhancement can make a world of difference. but you can't improve on the pure nutrition that is built into the spud. but overall it's incredibly packed with flavor – right out of the ground. They are wonderfully complex yet simple at the same time. they're tremendous in a million different ways. you might add a little butter or tiny touch of brown sugar. A few minor enhancements can do wonders. It's hard to top perfection. With the majority of foods. sauté them – you can do a 1. simple is best: the basic flavor of the core ingredients is pure. and it's wonderful on the palate. Don't get me started. Granted. scan down the menu and count the dishes that are based on one core ingredient. Yes. Cook it until tender. simple. Many Italian dishes revolve around pasta.

To make my point. Microwave for 1 to 2 minutes. you have a valid point. cooking from scratch (or at least using a few core ingredients) can be JUST AS EASY. Top with cheese (I like mozzarella on mine). If you can change your mindset about core ingredients and what it MEANS to cook. sour cream or plain yogurt. Poke holes in it with a fork. Add a few scoops of canned chunky chili. and the end results are always perfect. THIS IS BRAINWASHING. It's the key to seriously reducing your food budget. Wash it off. TACOS. and the family goes wild with glee at the wonderful taste and nutrition. And yes. Take a potato. I know you're thinking: "I'm too busy to cook. Think of how many commercials you've seen where the wife heats up a ready-to-eat dish of pre-mixed stuff. I want to change the way you think about cooking. Serve with your choice of toppings (cheese. Cooking can be one of the simplest things in your life. We're all too busy these days to even think about cooking. so you'll buy their pre-cooked meals.) 2. In reality. bacon bits. let alone crack open the recipe book. Microwave it for 5 to 7 minutes. Wean yourself from the notion that cooking is difficult. butter or butter substitute. BUYING THEIR MIX = SIMPLICITY and COMFORT. If people knew how easy it is to cook from scratch – at a fraction of the price of buying their prepackaged meals – they wouldn't make as much money. (And by the way. Shake some sea salt on the outside. too!) They always show how the preparation takes just a minute or two. too. I have to use premade mixes. The food industry WANTS you to think that cooking is difficult. you'll discover that it simply doesn’t have to be that difficult. BAKED POTATO. I don't have time to cook". 90 .Okay. etc. here are five dinners you can cook in LESS THAN FIVE MINUTES (and actually less than 1 minute if you're fast…) 1. Take a taco shell out of the package. Serve with salsa. why is it always the WIFE? We husbands cook. PEOPLE! They are conditioning you to think that COOKING = HARD WORK and PAIN. if you approach it correctly.

elbow. When you need to make a quick lunch or dinner. RAMEN NOODLES. they're the little "6 for $1" packages of noodles. It's fast.grocerysavings. add some pepper and salt. so it's very cheap as well. My kids love this one: boil up a box of noodles – any kind – such as ziti. cook a pot of rice on Sunday and keep it in the fridge all week long.us. You could also sauté some meat or seafood if you'd like. RICE WITH VEGGIES. toss in the noodles. As I mentioned above. When they're done. To top it. 5. You know what these are. 4. put into a bowl. and you've got a spicy oriental soup that makes a very enjoyable dinner. (For convenience. Feel free to share your favorites with friends. and add that. you can also buy a bag of frozen veggies and use just a tiny portion. You heat 2 cups of water until boiling. and chop in a few chunks of butter (or butter substitute if you're watching your cholesterol. then toss on top of the rice and add a little soy sauce. it takes 10 to 15 minutes to cook. add a little water. seasonings and styles of the additional items you add to your core ingredients. whatever. It's quick – it's tasty – and you'll think you ordered take out. Toss them into the finished soup. The secret to innovative. So vary your enhancements. If you're constantly stretched for time. but you only have to stir them once in a while. it will be good as new. BUT – if you buy a bag of frozen Chinese vegetables and a bag of pre-cooked peeled shrimp. 91 . You'll get new ones every week by email if you subscribe to my membership site located at www. Not too exciting. drain. you can sauté these in a frying pan with a little hot pepper oil while the noodles are cooking. One bag will make about 5 or 6 dinners. most restaurant menu items are just a core ingredient with enhancements. and you've got a quick cheesy meal.) Shake some powdered parmesan or romano cheese on top. and they're ready in 3 minutes. put 2 cups of the rice in a pot. exciting cooking is to vary the sauces. and heat on low for 5 minutes. There are hundreds of these types of recipes out there.3.) Sauté these with a little hot pepper oil until tender. maybe some squash and carrots. bowties. chop up a tomato. ALFREDO A LA QUICKIE. Sure. and it's very tasty.

BIG IDEA 72: Wean yourself from the notion that cooking is difficult. try new things. so you'll buy their over-priced pre-mixed dinners. and you'll eat better. too. It's the key to seriously reducing your food budget. easy-to-cook recipes that use CORE INGREDIENTS and that your family enjoys. BIG IDEA 73: Cooking fast & delicious meals for yourself and your family should not be a chore. Cooking can be one of the simplest things in your life. healthier food every day. if you approach it correctly.experiment. and you'll keep your menu vibrant and inviting. It's hard to top perfection. If you start building a list of quick. But first – you have to become an expert at cooking the core ingredients. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 14 BIG IDEA 70: You really don't have to do a lot of fancy cooking to make good food when you start with nature's finest. 92 . If it is. Plus. you can cut your food costs in half. you're doing it wrong! Do it right. you'll be saving LOTS of money. BIG IDEA 71: The food industry wants to DISCOURAGE you from cooking.

(HINT: boil a pot of water. So if you want to take control of your food budget and really cut your dependency on packaged meals.) • If you can learn to boil noodles. and many just about do all the work for you. Heck. What a novel idea!) Once you determine how best to cook your core ingredients. you can add countless varieties of toppings for a healthy. I would suggest that you take an inventory of your appliances. If they're still too hard at 10 minutes. We are so lucky today to have time-saving appliances available for every conceivable kitchen task. (Have you seen those 'potato martinis' they serve in the fanciest restaurants? They're nothing more than mashed potatoes topped with sautéed meats and vegetables. If you can really get the hang of cooking core ingredients. GOOD APPLIANCES CAN HELP. Easy. They can save you huge amounts of time in the kitchen. Investing in a few basic items could really make your life easier. you can make Italian food with your hands tied. the rest – pun fully intended – is gravy. easy to remember. you've got the basic foundation for about half a gazillion Chinese recipes. nutritious dinner. this chapter will be critical to your success in weaning yourself from pre-packaged meals. Get familiar with cooking core ingredients from scratch. cook 'em a few minutes more. the rest is a cakewalk.) • If you can peel & boil potatoes. 93 .Chapter 15: A System for Cooking = A System for Savings How to Develop a System for Cooking Core Ingredients. (HINT: nature made this recipe easy. One cup of rice. the local pharmacy sells appliances now. the rest of the cooking process is a breeze. If you're cooking-challenged. Set your timer to 10 minutes. two cups of water. It's always double the water for a single unit of rice. • If you can learn to make rice. and they frequently give $5 and $10 rebates for buying them. Stir it once in a while. Once you've got your own system down. This doesn't have to be expensive.

a pressure cooker can make even the cheapest cuts of meat tender.Listed below are some items that I couldn't live without. so there's not a lot of clean-up. once the pressure weight is rocking cook it for 20 minutes. those of us on the front-line of the family-feeding war need all the help we can get. and they'll love you back all the more. blades & cover all go right into the dishwasher. vegetables. It will be the best chicken soup 94 .) They make excellent chicken soup (put a chicken. It’s the ideal cooking helper. RICE COOKER. especially if you’ve got small kids to tend to. The same thing goes for carrots. some of you nutritional purists will shudder at some of these suggestions. and in 15 minutes or so your rice is done perfectly. And let me share a secret that every fine Italian cook will tell you: buy a block of hard cheese and grate it in your mini-processor just before serving over your pasta. cut it into 4 pieces and drop it in the processor. Buy a huge bag. squash – basically any hard vegetable. And the bowl. But hey. Plus. And as a bonus – rice is still very reasonably priced. and save. Now. scallions. You dump your ingredients in. press the "chop" button. plug it in. You don't need to watch it. and it's chopped in about 5 seconds. It will make an ordinary meal extraordinary. cool for 30 minutes. water and salt / pepper in the pot. Peel an onion. FOOD PROCESSOR (or mini-processor if you're single or you've got a small family). Plus. They shouldn't – because a pressure cooker can cut your cooking time by 50% or more – and they lock all the nutrients into your food. For some reason. It's our job to keep the family happy. garlic. One of the easiest things to cook is rice – and one of the best time-savers is to get a rice cooker. and your meat will fall off the fork. these scare the daylights out of most people. They're great for stews (cook for 15 minutes. They’re also ideal for grating hard cheeses. turn off the heat and let it sit for 30 minutes. A good processor will cut your cooking time by half. kids just love rice. stir it or tend to it in any way. PRESSURE COOKER. and if the family won't eat what we cook – what good is it? So cook what your family loves.

and your veggies are ready to serve. Make a pot of Japanese noodles – soba noodles are available in many import shops. it makes them look more appetizing and more like oven-baked chops. carrots – and get some fresh peeled shrimp. top with bread crumbs. what do you order when you're in a restaurant? Being able to cook restaurant-quality fried foods in your household can significantly reduce your food budget. DEEP FRYER. Close the pressure cooker. Heat up some chicken broth for the soup. It's really a great appliance.) They can cut an hour or more out of the cooking time required for meats such as pork chops. Yes. But admit your vice and face your fears. Yes. Chop up some vegetables – broccoli. I know people want to live "healthy" and avoid fried foods. I can take a basic potato – probably costing about 25 cents or less – and create restaurant-quality fries in about 10 minutes. cauliflower. and deep fry the veggies and shrimp in the fryer. 95 . But what do the kids order every time you're in a restaurant? Heck. Mix up some tempura batter.you've ever had. They'll be fully-cooked. I like to remove them. salt & pepper for flavor) for about 3 minutes on each side. turn up the heat. tender and ready-to-eat. You just have to get over the 'guilt' factor and admit that most people love fried foods. Now. Just sear your chops in the pressure cooker in a little oil (adding garlic. try pressure-cooking in your household and you'll be a convert for life. cool the cooker immediately with cold water. it's a nutritional crime. Add 3/4 cup water. and brown in the broiler for about 3 minutes. Cool the cooker immediately and remove the chops. if you want to reduce the amount of fried foods you serve but still add the flavor and appeal of fried foods to your menu.) Get over the fear. It's not THAT bad for you from time to time… I bought a family-sized fryer at the drug store for $20 after rebate. try this. Serve over the soba noodles and soup and you've got a dynamic Japanese meal that the family will love. Plus. and cook for about 10 minutes once the weight starts rocking. The only difference: you've saved at least an hour of cooking time! They're ideal for cutting the time required to cook vegetables (cooks in 1 to 5 minutes after the pressure weight starts rocking.

and the taste won’t even come close to that of the home-made recipe. and you don’t skin your knuckles.you've minimized the amount of fried foods you're serving. Grate 3 or 4 potatoes in your food processor (SO much easier than grating by hand. But it’s also ideal for dozens of other recipes as well. You see? A deep fryer is NOT the evil device you thought it was…! ELECTRIC GRIDDLE. One of my favorites is hash brown potatoes. The frozen hash browns in your grocer’s freezer will cost about 3 times that amount. Total cost for 8 servings: about 15¢ a serving. The result is a flavorful. Mix it all together with salt & pepper. it will help you switch to a "fresh cooked" diet rather than a "frozen / reheated" diet – which can save you big bucks on your groceries. This appliance is indispensable in my household. hearty breakfast or side dish. Cut into 8 squares and flip each square and cook for another 10 minutes or so.) Grate an onion as well. of course. The #1 use. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 15 BIG IDEA 74: Adding a few inexpensive appliances to your kitchen will make cooking easier. is to make pancakes. Oil your griddle lightly. Plus. 96 . cheaper – and more nutritious for your family. Spread the mixture all across your griddle and cook on medium-high heat for 15 minutes.

see if somewhere in your busy day you could find just 5 minutes to steal and re-apply to meal preparation. I'm pretty sure you can find the five minutes! You can cook fresh meals from CORE INGREDIENTS in almost the same amount of time it takes to heat up a pre-mixed meal. Healthier Meals Why do so few people cook fresh meals? Do you give any credibility to these common myths: . you'll probably find 20 or 30 minutes to eat the meal. Consider some simple steps in the way you approach cooking. add the glop. consider the alternative answers.I hate to cook. you're going to find enough time to get out a pan.I'm too busy to shop. You had enough time to buy the bag of premade stuff.There's no time to cook.Chapter 16: Quick-Cooking: The Secret to Happier.My family wouldn't know the difference anyway. Now. didn't you? Consider that you could buy a variety of core ingredients – many of which are also found in the freezer section – with just a few extra minutes of shopping time. . heat the glop and dish it up. and the way you prepare your meals. . – I'm too busy to shop. For everyone else. Consider some minor alterations to the ingredients you buy. Again. If your schedule is SO TIGHT that you absolutely could not find 5 minutes anywhere – and your life is literally on a stopwatch every minute of the day – you probably have a personal shopper and a personal chef. Plus. The reward will be meals that can be much tastier and probably a lot healthier for you and your family. the recipes you use (or don't use). . and you 97 . The moral of this story is this: you're already devoting a certain amount of time to meal preparation. Then. – There's no time to cook.

you CAN learn to cook quick fast. You might be surprised on this one. and even the most die-hard mageirocophobiac (person with an intense fear of cooking) can become an efficient quick cooking expert and save money on food with a little patience. People eat bottled spaghetti sauce over pasta. They eat what they're given. add a few pennies worth of spices. The one and only ingredient in the can of tomatoes is TOMATOES. It will make your meals extra special. because it's what they've always eaten. It FILLS you up but is it good for you? You can buy a can of crushed tomatoes for less than the can of prepared sauce. What if you could just dump DIFFERENT bags or cans of stuff into the same pot. Take it one step at a time. This is a valid concern if you view cooking as a chore – which many people do. The reason many families are oblivious to the taste or quality of their food is that they've never experienced real cooking. Your family WILL notice the difference and chances are they'll thank you for the improvement. To avoid cooking. and make a much more satisfying and healthy meal. though. they don't expect anything better. in this case). and enjoy it a whole lot more. "QUICK COOKING" will allow you to produce quality meals for less. which is nothing more than a filler and it's aptly named. But I'd like to propose an alternative to cooking. many people simply DUMP bags or cans of glop into saucepans and heat it up. even if you find the recipe for boiling water too difficult. Don't you think that might be healthier than a ton of food starch and preservatives? YES! Do you think you might feel better by eating allnatural ingredients? YES! The proof is in the pudding (or pasta. simple meals that your family will love. – My family wouldn't know the difference anyway. – I hate to cook. enjoy better meals. I call this QUICK COOKING. Even if you DETEST setting foot in the kitchen.can save time. because it's all that they know. and lower your food costs. and if you do it right it won't take you a lot of extra time. Look at the ingredients of the sauce: it's full of modified food starch. in the interest of saving time. A lot of people choose DUMPING over COOKING. with almost no additional 98 .

uncooked Oatmeal . poultry and fish Baking Mix Homemade sauces & gravies Fresh tortillas. canned beans "Closeout" fresh vegetables (items that the store must sell today or throw away) HIGH-PRICED PREPARED ITEM Pre-cooked rice in frozen dinners Frozen French fries. frozen Prepared spaghetti sauce Frozen or canned vegetables Tiny amounts of chicken found in prepared dinners Canned noodle dinners or pasta mix meals Tiny packets of partially-cooked dried oatmeal Baked loaves of bread Frozen. a vegan or a Venutian. most cuisines – from the most basic to the most exotic – are variations on a theme. uncooked Bread flour Fresh meats. With just a few minutes of planning. Insider Secret: You're Already Buying Core Ingredients – But Not At Their Source! As previously mentioned. any fresh vegetable Boneless. etc. it doesn't matter if you're a meat-eater or a vegetarian. etc. You end up taking the same basic steps you do now: open a can.large drum. pull out a pan.fresh potato wedges. dry potato flakes. Tomatoes . You're just being more selective in what you're putting into the pan. or packets of dry gravy mix Frozen Mexican food dinners Vegetable soup in the can 99 . starts with a core ingredient or multiple core ingredients. frozen or tube biscuit dough.dry Potatoes . skinless chicken breasts Pasta .canned Fresh broccoli. Okay. To these they add a variety of topping or add-ins to create the final meal that you eat. LOW-COST CORE INGREDIENT Rice . frozen waffles Cans or jars of sauce. and the high-priced alternatives they replace. cheese.investment of your time. Here are some of the core ingredients that you can buy at the source as fresh ingredients. you can follow these tips and start cooking and eating better and cheaper. how do we handle this "QUICK COOKING" without a lot of work and clean up? Let's look at a few core meal ingredients and how you can use them to create dozens of exciting. turn on the stove. The chef (or food manager. whatever you choose to cook. beans. in the case of packaged foods). rip open a bag. carrots. you can make TREMENDOUS changes in the cost of your meals as well as your family's satisfaction with them. prepared meals with tiny portions Pre-baked biscuits. For the sake of this discussion. and how you're doing it. delicious recipes.

Consider some simple steps in the way you approach cooking. Determine what you have to work with first (i. c. and you will save tremendous amounts of money. train yourself to select CORE INGREDIENTS rather than pre-mixed meals. even if 100 . BIG IDEA 77: Even if you DETEST setting foot in the kitchen. The way you plan your menus. with no time to cook and no time to shop – is in three key steps: • AVAILABILITY of economical core ingredients. and serve nutritious meals your family will actually eat. seasonings and styles that are appropriate for your family's eating habits. what's cheapest / freshest). To get a handle on how remarkably simple these three steps can be. Think of food ingredients the way the chefs do: as building blocks to fine meals. The best way for YOU to cook. b. (more about this later).e. let's look at: a. store. • TECHNIQUE to quickly prepare and cook your meals using some core sauces.The secret to feeding your family well – with tasty and enticing food on a bargain-basement budget. having them accessible. BIG IDEA 76: You can cook fresh meals from CORE INGREDIENTS in almost the same amount of time as heating up a pre-mixed meal. The way you buy these items. • FLEXIBILITY to mix and match the ingredients that you can buy economically. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 16 BIG IDEA 75: Regardless of how little or how much time you have to shop. and you can save time – enjoy better meals – and lower your food costs. then decide what you're going to build and how you're going to build it.

BIG IDEA 78: "QUICK COOKING" will allow you to produce quality meals for less. 101 .you find the recipe for boiling water too difficult. then decide what you're going to build and how you're going to build it.e. what's cheapest / freshest). simple meals that your family will love. you CAN learn to quick fast. Determine what you have to work with first (i. BIG IDEA 79: Think of food ingredients the way the fine chefs do: as building blocks to fine meals. with almost no additional investment of your time.

102 .

the fresh seafood market. RICE Rice can be made from 'scratch' very easily. tonight's special will be shrimp. If the flounder is fresh and the other choices start out frozen. If the chef 's special sounds appealing and it costs a few dollars less than the other items. Great chefs plan their menu when they go to the market. Think of your own dining experiences. That's because those items are in most abundant supply – and therefore the lowest in cost – are usually the freshest. because they are being harvested now – not six months ago. then enhanced with additional ingredients to create unique meals. The fastest way is with a pressure cooker or a rice cooker. Do you know how the world's greatest chefs decide their menus? Ask any chef what they will be cooking tonight. But that doesn't mean people will pay. If flounder is in abundance at the fish market and the price is lower than that of the other fish. Surely. technically they can.Chapter 17: Planning Your Menus How to choose value ingredients to make luxury meals. which do you think will taste better? CHEAPEST can often mean BEST when it comes to food selections. and they'll tell you that it depends on what is in season. tonight's special will be flounder. don't you sometimes choose the special? Another reason to choose the chef 's special is abundance. If shrimp is on sale. Nutritious Meals With Your Core Items Let's review how a variety of core ingredients can be prepared. How to Cook Delicious. When an item is in abundance. it's often because the item is in season – and hence is very fresh and is available in large quantities. Nature came up with a very easy 103 . It may be the farmer's market. or the wholesale meat market. You may wonder why the chefs use this method. they can charge whatever they'd like for the items in the restaurant? Well.

104 . and vegetables.recipe for rice: 1 part rice. then stir and cover with a plate to prevent splashing. If your meals are more infrequent. if you like it richer. you'll be amazed at how smooth and creamy it comes out! For one serving. and be ready to reheat them quickly for individual meals. in a matter of minutes. sashimi (imitation crab). lightly beat one or two eggs in a bowl (but not so much that bubbles form). Microwave for about 3 minutes. See? Cooking can be easy and fun! OATMEAL Oatmeal has the same simple recipe. straight from nature: 1 part oatmeal. There are countless ways to make tasty meals with rice.e. but it's usually best just to cook plain white rice. just add a little water. consider making a large pot of rice on Monday and using it in your recipes throughout the week. You can 'nuke' rice back to health in your microwave. add to the rice mixture and flip after a minute or so. i. soy sauce. beef. Let it steam for a few minutes. huh? You may want to add a dash of sea salt.) Oatmeal is one of the only foods that actually cooks better in a microwave than it does on the stove. try freezing your rice in small plastic containers. To reheat. For fried rice. saffron or other spices. simply heat some oil in a frying pan then add your rice and cook until slightly browned. 2 parts water (or milk. you travel a lot and can't leave fresh food in the refrigerator. Try it. Add a splash of teriyaki. then add your other ingredients. Make a large quantity of your core ingredients. Sounds pretty easy. and you'll eat fresh-cooked quality with every meal. chicken bouillon. Worcestershire sauce. cover and heat. Continue microwaving for 1 minute at a time until done. For egg fu yung. mix 1/2 cup oatmeal with 1 cup of water or milk. 2 parts water. For families on the go. Just store the leftover rice in a plastic storage bowl. Recipes. barbecue sauce or any other ingredients you like. Some simple ideas are to add pre-cooked chicken. You'll cut vast amounts of time out of your cooking procedures. nothing could be simpler.

. bag. and tasty. To prepare a base supply of potatoes early in the week. consult a recipe book and you'll be amazed at the uses for potatoes. Use them as a 'base' with stew or sautéed veggies on top. especially at the start of a strenuous work day where you'll need extra energy. slice your potatoes and fry in butter to make home fries. and you've got a delicious baked potato that can serve as your main course. the possibilities for using potatoes in recipes are endless. cooked broccoli. Add cheese. They'll only keep for a few days. Add a little cheese.50 for a 5-lb. Dinner: Serve them baked. Recipes: Again. microwave or fry potatoes in many different ways. mashed. boiled & quartered with butter or chicken broth. to make a tasty meal. These additives have 105 . etc. so only cook what you can use fairly soon. sour cream. chopped scallions. just get a good cookbook (at a yard sale or thrift store. etc. just peel and boil your potatoes until fully cooked. and they learned many different recipes to add variety. The thing to bear in mind is that you can often find potatoes on sale for $2. Families existed on potatoes during the potato famine in Ireland. Here are a few ideas. full of fiber. bake. Or. Top with chili and cheese or canned meat to make a filling quick meal. by meal: Breakfast: Chop your cooked potatoes and fry them in butter to make tasty hash browns. store then in a plastic storage bowl until you need them.. Potatoes are an excellent addition to a hearty breakfast. They're fat free.00 or $2. Then. Again. for variety. of course…). Lunch: Poke some holes in an unpeeled potato and microwave it for about 5 minutes. most nutritious foods in the grocery store. bacon bits.POTATOES There are countless ways to cook with potatoes. You can boil. If you're careful about what you put on them. I suggest using the imitation butter spray and / or powdered and flavored 'butter buds' that are available today. they can be a healthy choice too. etc. hot sauce. That works out to about 25 cents per potato – one of the cheapest.

Pour on top of cooked pasta and you have a great Italian dish. You're eliminating all of the additives. The Irish knew this centuries ago. starches and fillers that are common in the jars of sauce that most people use. In the south.almost no fat or calories. I know – you purists are saying you'd never eat a tomato out of a can. and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. They're easy to grow and relatively cheap to buy – especially the canned variety. In the summer. Try a home-made Bacon Lettuce Tomato sandwich (BLT). more food volume. Dinner: One of the easiest and fastest ways to make spaghetti sauce is to use a can of chopped or whole tomatoes. Ever had a sliced tomato on the plate with your bacon & eggs? They're delicious anyway but you can add either salt or sugar for even more flavor. Here are a few of my favorites: Breakfast. or you're frequently on the road and fresh tomatoes just go bad on the shelf. vegetarian cooking. Recipes: Get a cookbook to see any of the thousands of possibilities for tomatoes. I like to sauté a little chopped garlic in olive oil. TOMATOES Why single out tomatoes as an ingredient? I'm also singling them out because they're the staple ingredient in Italian cooking. Slice them and add to a ham or turkey sandwich. and more value than just about any item in your grocery store. nothing is better than a fresh-picked tomato! Lunch. But for busy people they can be an excellent. cans of tomatoes are typically a lot cheaper 106 . fast alternative to fresh tomatoes – especially when you don't have time to shop. and many ethnic foods from around the world. and that is why it is the mainstay of their diet. fried green tomatoes are also a delicacy. and can make a baked potato seem almost decadent even as this filling and flavorful meal actually helps you lose weight! A large bag of potatoes has more nutrition. add the tomatoes and a little salt and pepper. Plus. Chop them up and add them to an omelet or just eat a raw tomato with a little salt. Yes.

And guess what: this same approach works for asparagus. and many of these small-batch tomatoes – while not commercially feasible to grow – are loaded in flavor. heart disease. put the dish in a microwave. You'll have perfectly steamed fresh broccoli that I GUARANTEE you will taste ten times better than the frozen stuff. the more taste it will have. "Man – who don't like spaghetti?" Tomatoes are packed with tons of nutrients and they have great natural flavor. and enjoy meals more. To quote Rodney Dangerfield. and your family will begin to eat healthier. add a little water. put it in a glass or Pyrex dish. the lighter the seasoning the better. tastiest items you can buy in a store. carrots. and other serious diseases. I find that the less you cook tomatoes the better. Another tip: if you’re ever at a farmer’s market and you find heirloom tomatoes. They're also probably one of the most misunderstood of foods. Do you know the easiest way to cook fresh broccoli? Wash it off. Here are some tips to win over the anti-veggie contingent in your household: 107 . They’re one of nature’s best sources of lycopene. So many people would rather rip open a bag of frozen broccoli than deal with stalks of fresh broccoli – presumably because they 'want to save time'. potatoes. VEGETABLES Fresh veggies are probably the healthiest. buy them. and you'll probably pay less. then cook on high for about 4 or 5 minutes. almost every vegetable out there… Buy whatever veggies are on sale. The total time expenditure is about the same but buy the broccoli on sale. You can make hundreds of recipes using tomatoes as your base. strap a rubber band around the dish. cover with plastic wrap. Heirloom tomatoes are grown from seeds that are not currently in massproduction. fast cook as described above. a powerful antioxidant that may help your body’s natural defenses prevent cancer. There are hundreds if not thousands of varieties of tomatoes available. feel better. beets. and the sooner you cook the tomato after picking from the vine.than the jars of sauce. unique taste and nutrients.

Of course.Tip 1: if the bacon bits are too hard on your teeth. . as appropriate. . you really don't have to add a lot more for most dishes). especially when they're 3/$1.Tip 3: Look for coupons for the spices in your Sunday paper. The recipe is extremely simple: . One major national drug store chain frequently issues coupons for spices at 3/$1. If you're a bacon lover. they're only 99¢ at the drug store. .Put into a big pot. try them on veggies and you will be pleasantly surprised. If you don't like this. try the powdered butter substitute found in the spice section of your grocery. This is the 'zero calorie' spray that you find in the butter section. Even if you've avoided these low-fat products because they don't taste as good or work as well as butter on sandwiches or toast. as are the chocolate and rainbow ice-cream sprinkles. whereas the name-brand items can be $2-$3 at the grocery store. I know the sprinkles are 100% refined sugar. but this will add useless calories and fat – especially the bad 'trans fats' – with little taste benefit. • Use plain yogurt and butter spray on baked potatoes. You won't be weighed down with all of the fat of sour cream and butter but the potato will taste great. (Hint: less is more when it comes to spicing up a veggie dish. with some water and simple spices. Mother Nature put an immense amount of flavor and subtle tastes into veggies to begin with. Normally.Tip 2: look for these in the discount spice rack at your neighborhood drug store. . back to veggies… • Buy close-out veggies when they are available at your store and make a healthy soup or stew out of them. (Yes.• Spray some fat-free butter on the veggies before you nuke them. buy some of the dried bacon bits to sprinkle on as well. 108 .Wash / peel / chop the veggies. While most of their spices are about 95% salt. you can always use regular butter or margarine. the bacon bits are a bargain. Okay. but if you have kids you know that they go absolutely crazy for them and they're a big hit at birthday parties). nuke them in a small dish with a little water.

If you happen to find a LOT of veggies on sale. margarine. pork or lamb. Also. • For a cream sauce. Example: make some 'roux' in the pot before you start cooking the veggies or veggie / meat combo. drizzle the mixture into the broth very slowly and keep stirring or the flour mixture can still turn into dough. but if you have cubed beef.) • For meat dishes. consider making a big pot of soup or stew and serving it all week long. (Hint: do not add the flour directly to the mix. A good recipe is to sauté some onions in butter until soft. you can feed your family like royalty for less than $5 – and often enjoy 2 or 3 meals out of it. The meat can cook along with the veggies (allow extra time). If you have a breadmaker machine and make a loaf of homemade bread for about 50¢. you can buy full-price fresh veggies. • For a little European flair. then add some flour and spices to form a paste. Of course..) . it's advisable to pre-sear the meat in a little olive or vegetable oil first. To reheat. simply pop the giant ice cube of soup into a pot and heat slowly for 10 or 15 minutes. The best time to do this is before you cook the food.Serve and enjoy. But there is a special reward in making a giant pot of delectable fresh vegetable soup for $2 or $3. Frozen soup or stew will keep for months.Cook for about a half hour (or about 5 minutes if using a pressure cooker. to boot! • For a red sauce / French-style dish. and stir the mixture into the broth slowly. add fresh or canned tomatoes prior to cooking. SLOWLY add 109 . sour cream or plain yogurt near the end of the cooking cycle. To thicken. You can freeze soup in leftover plastic containers from yogurt. add some white or red wine to the dish. etc. and in most cases that is all you'll find available. it just looks better when it's pre-seared. and taste just as good – and sometimes better – than the first time around. mix a little flour or corn starch with water in a cup. Be sure all of the flour is dissolved into solution BEFORE you add the mixture to the broth. or it will turn to lumps and clumps of dough and powder. or freezing some for later. add a little milk. sour cream.

and excite your family's taste buds. DAIRY Dairy is one area in which it can be difficult to cut costs – difficult but not impossible. I'll find the small blocks of cheese on sale for about $1. 'Recipe boredom' does not have to be an issue in your household. just prior to serving. • To stretch your soup / stew. There is not a vegetable on this planet that cannot be cooked in hundreds of different ways. water. and make excellent dumplings right in the soup.00. you need a 'recipe mix' to shake things up. You can also make a paste out of flour. cook some noodles separately and serve the soup over the noodles. The same amount by weight of grated cheese will often be $1. You don't need a 'box mix' to add variety to your diet. and are among the tastiest meals you will ever eat. or just buy pre-made noodles if you're short of time. Many Hungarian dishes such as goulash and Chicken Paprikash follow this process. make a roux as described above and then when the dish is complete add sour cream. The variety of dishes you can cook for your family is endless. rather than buying pre-grated cheese. salt and a little baking powder. milk or yogurt to make a cream sauce out of your broth. Here are some tools and techniques: Cheese: Buy blocks of cheese and grate them at home. You'll find that you can make some GREAT international dishes in no time at all if you learn a few basics such as this.your wine to de-glaze the pan (all this means is that you loosen the sticky bits off the bottom of the pan and scrape everything into a consistent sauce).99 or more – literally double the price! Granted. if 110 . and in thousands of different combinations with different spices and sauces. • For a totally mind-blowing culinary sensation. Often. You can make excellent fresh noodles using nothing more than flour and salt. Consult any good cookbook to find out which spices to use with which veggies or veggie / meat combination. This roux / wine combination will thicken your sauce and add some very intricate and interesting flavors.

People: two halves DO make a whole when it comes to milk. Cheddar or Mozzarella. Another advantage of grating your own cheese is that you're not limited to American. all pork comes from a pig. Prices these days can change from week to week.you don't have a food processor at home. hand-grating a full block of cheese will take a lot of effort. Keep an open mind – and an open eye – when you're shopping for milk. using a food processor with a grater blade. But here's a secret: all beef comes from a cow. all the cuts are different and some cook up better than others. Do the higher-price brands come from better breeds of cows? I don't think so. so get the bargains whenever you can. because they want their family to enjoy the finest quality. If you buy one bag of grated cheese per week for a full year. Sharp Cheddar or anything you'd like. all parts of a chicken come from a chicken. Always look for the lowest price brand when shopping. you can grate Monterrey Jack. while a full gallon container will be priced at $2.00 each. How long does it take to grate cheese? It takes about 10 seconds. Buy a half-gallon or gallon. Milk: It's funny how milk prices can vary so dramatically by brand. Another thing that amazes me at the store is how size-specific people have become. you can buy them while they are on sale. That is why I believe you should make every effort to get a food processor as soon as you can afford one – or get yours out of the attic and actually start using it. Colby. and you can really save. MEATS Most people avoid the lower-price cuts of meat. Sure. you've wasted almost as much money as it would take you to buy a food processor and grate it at home.79. And for you singles out there: never buy a pint of milk. and freeze what you don't need in the short-run. Swiss. My local store regularly puts half gallons of milk on sale for $1. Yes. you store the cheese in plastic container for future use. As long as you have a method of storing these items. milk freezes and thaws out just fine… You can stock up on some FRESH items just like you stock up on canned goods. you're paying about a 150% markup over the larger sizes. but many of the lesser-priced cuts can be turned 111 . Most people grab the gallon container out of habit. Then.

including drumsticks. enjoyable meals. and freeze them individually for one-at-a-time use later.Skinless / frozen Boneless Breasts . flavorful. etc. Boneless Breasts . Bone-in Chicken Sections. Often. the difference in the preparation time of your meals is just a few short minutes. I also recommend that you NEVER buy pre-seasoned meats. you can buy packages of fresh breasts on sale.into excellent. What I DO recommend is staying as high up this list as possible. But the difference in cost can be significant. From lowest to highest price. it takes time. with all drumsticks. It's messy.Skinless / fresh Pre-Seasoned Breasts or Tenderloins Understand the 'preparation chain' of the food you buy. all bonein breast sections. or a few pennies worth of seasoning. here's what you're likely to find: Whole Chickens or 'fryers' Half or Quartered Chickens Specific-Section Packs. just look at the cost per pound of each variety. the higher the price you pay.Skin on Boneless Breasts . Chicken To fully understand how the different cuts and packaging combinations of chicken affect price. if you're willing to rebag them. It would be easy to preach that you should always buy whole chickens and cut them up as needed. the lower down the chain you buy. etc. thigh sections. 112 . A relatively inexpensive and handy choice is skinless / frozen breasts. but this is simply not practical for many people. Or. because you're paying a huge mark up for a few pennies' worth of spices. because they are there when you need them and they're easy to cook. breasts with wings attached. and it's not particularly easy unless you learn how to do it. all wings. The higher up this chain you buy. the less you will pay. It's all in the cooking process. given the amount of time you can devote to cooking.

the slower it needs to be cooked. Put this all into a casserole dish and top with a simple piecrust (takes just a minute to make with flour. you should definitely consider buying one – especially if you often find yourself short of time to cook. and look for the best value you can. carrots. potatoes that I have cooked separately.Chicken can be cooked in a multitude of ways. Perhaps the best rule of thumb with non-ground cuts of beef is this: the cheaper the cut. Use whatever is in season and/or on sale. Beef There are many different cuts of beef. Replace the roast. Remove the roast and put the spacer in your pressure cooker. For example. and bake for about 15 minutes. just buy what you prefer. onions. hungry crowd. and sear your roast on all sides for a minute or two. If you don't have a pressure cooker. 3. you can cook a delicious pot roast in less than 1 hour's time – start to finish. salt and shortening). based on how much cooking time and work you're willing to put in. so there is no great secret to buying individual cuts. This is a little metal plate that keeps the food away from the direct heat. and many ways to make tasty enjoyable meals using the lesser-priced cuts. and surround with cleaned. and then I thicken the remaining liquid with a little milk and some flour and water paste to make a cream sauce. My favorite way to cook lesser cuts of beef is in a pressure cooker. peeled vegetables such as potatoes. Just about any cut of beef will come out tender and juicy if you slow cook it for about 3 hours at 250 degrees in the oven. onions. 2. and it will please a huge. Try that in an oven – you can't do it! Here's the recipe: 1. With a pressure cooker. You can add a can of tomatoes if you 113 . I simply cook two or three chicken breasts in the pressure cooker. Start to finish takes about 30 to 45 minutes. You'll also get great results if you cook it all day in a crockpot. etc. celery. which you like. Heat a little oil in the pressure cooker. it comes with your pressure cooker. I make a casserole-sized chicken potpie for fraction of the cost of buying a store-made pie. I add some carrots.

If you want to serve your family hot. salt and pepper. If you can't wait.like a red sauce. tasty home-cooked meals but find yourself challenged for time. And if you don't drain away all the fat. Close the cooker and heat until the weight starts to rock. I would recommend cutting the meat into smaller chunks prior to cooking. I would strongly urge you to invest in a pressure cooker. and it will always come out great. A little extra preparation time and changing your cooking methods can make these cuts of meat just as delicious as 114 . If you are planning to cook and serve your roast immediately. Turn the heat off. drain it well after cooking. They simply can't be beat as a kitchen helper. The cheaper ground beef contains the most fat. or cut up some fresh tomatoes. so they're actually a better buy in the long run… Another way to tenderize cheaper cuts of beef is with meat tenderizer. but leave the cooker on the burner. you can place the cooker under running cold water to reduce the pressure immediately. This way it will tenderize better. 5. 8. Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes. the more tender your beef will be. 4. let the pressure go down naturally. The longer you let the pot sit. which will be very evident when you cook it. try it and see! You can lower your meat costs by purchasing cheaper cuts of meat and cooking them differently. and you will have an incredibly tender roast. The new types of tenderizer are NOT MSG-based. Add about 2 cups of water. You can cook ANY type of meat in a pressure cooker this way. 7. let the pot sit for an hour or longer. If you do buy cheaper ground beef. guess where it will be going? You may find that the costlier ground beef will yield bigger burgers with less fat. so there's no need to worry about your health. Regarding chopped or ground beef. use your best dietary judgment rather than price to make shopping choices. I like to add chopped garlic. But remember – the value you thought you were getting will be going to waste when you drain away all the fat. If you can. 6. But they can make a world of difference in the tenderness of your beef.

spice things up: simple variations on the sauces you use to top your food can make meals new & exciting again. commercial pasta sauces typically have a lot of starch fillers. If you are typically stressed for time. you can actually prepare these sauces in large quantities and store them in the freezer. Just put a sheet of plastic wrap or wax paper on top before freezing. If you family is bored with the food you cook. and the variable element is the sauce or spices.). Once you've mastered these sauces. potatoes or other vegetables. potatoes. wash and save your leftover yogurt cups or pudding cups and freeze the sauce in them. For meat-eaters. rice. if you're serving single portions. you can keep your food costs low. MARINARA SAUCE. simply re-heat in a saucepan or in the microwave to serve. Serve them over your choice of core ingredients (cooked pasta. the secondary element is rice or other grains. Here are some very simple. Or. etc. very tasty sauces that you can make in minutes. Variety is the spice of life. For vegetarians. the secondary element is rice. That is why it is important to develop as many different sauce or spice combinations as possible. the core element is chicken.the higher-priced cuts. pork or lamb. Then. beef. but they tend to be expensive and full of fillers and artificial ingredients. healthy and flavorful meals. With a little resourcefulness. and the variable element is the sauce or other seasoning additive. most meals consist of a base and a sauce. you can serve them over any core element to make delicious. or vegetables) and create gourmet meals that your family will love. you can work out your own system without buying expensive storage containers. You can pour your cooled sauce into quart-sized heavy-duty plastic kitchen bags and freeze. meats. noodles. you can make a better sauce 115 . As mentioned earlier. And by using core ingredients as the base (rice. You could buy pre-made sauces. the core element is one or more vegetables. SAUCES: The Miracle Budget Stretcher When you get right down to it.

it's high on the cholesterol and fat content. BROWNED BUTTER SAUCE. adding mushrooms and a sprinkling of garlic powder or chopped garlic.that is 100% natural by buying diced or pureed tomatoes and adding a few spices to your liking. start on your sauce. Yes. and when they're almost done. start with a small carton of heavy cream. The simplicity and powerful taste of this dish is amazing. Top with grated cheese. stirring constantly. CREAM SAUCE. When they are transparent but not browned. I find that kids like it better without any spices). Serve over hot noodles and sprinkle on grated cheese. fry some chopped garlic in a little olive oil. When the butter 116 . Sautee for a few minutes and then serve over your core ingredients. you can add a can of peas on some chopped ham. MUSHROOM SAUCE. OLIVE OIL & GARLIC SAUCE. but if your goal is to impress. This will taste WAY better than those 'quick side' pouch meals. Heat in a saucepan until it thickens slightly and then add your core ingredients. this will work every time. To make a delicious marinara sauce. If you like. then serve over cooked pasta. you can make a great sauce by melting some butter in a saucepan (real butter is best for sauces. but margarine will do). Heat very briefly until garlic is barely cooked. sauté some chopped onions or chopped green peppers as well. add a can of tomatoes (or fresh. purists prefer chopping the garlic fresh. If you want a decadent meal that people will rave about. It is said that Homer lived on this dish while writing The Iliad. This dish has been served for thousands of years – literally. Simply heat some olive oil in a saucepan and add chopped garlic (the jars of chopped garlic are easy and tasty. For example. Melt a stick of REAL butter (margarine will NOT work for this one) in a saucepan over medium high heat. and you've got a great presentation. but it does take extra time…). and heat for 15 to 30 minutes. so you know it has to be good! Cook your noodles first. stirring occasionally. Top with chopped chives for color. This is known in Italy as "Aglio et Oglio" and it is a classic. If your family likes mushrooms. if available). Add a little Italian seasoning or basil (optional.

Pecorino. stirring constantly.) The flavor of this dish will overwhelm you. 1 cup shelled walnuts (optional). salt and half cup of oil (preferably extra-virgin olive oil). Simply add some parsley. Heat through. but do not boil. etc. add chopped cucumber (known as Raita in Indian cooking). A cool and refreshing alternative to oil-based sauces is a simple and clean yogurt sauce. Add 2/3 cup of whipping cream and cook until slightly thickened. Parmesan. remove the seeds. 1 tsp. it really brings out the flavor of vegetables. immediately take it off the stove. SOUR CREAM SAUCE. and serve on top of your favorite core ingredients. (Grating a fresh block of hard cheese just prior to serving will make your dish much more flavorful than if you use the 'green cardboard shaker' cheese. PESTO.starts to burn. LEMON JUICE. or serve it on top of your core ingredients as the main sauce. and pour it over your noodles. This is an unusually pungent and tasty sauce. WHITE MUSHROOM SAUCE. You can use any really hard cheese such as Asiago. I recommend getting a small electric chopper to save time – and save your knuckles. Top with grated hard cheese. Puree in a food processor for a minute or two until smooth. This is an elegant sauce that turns any core ingredient into a gourmet treat. Melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a saucepan. 2/3 cup sour cream and 1 teaspoon of salt. Try sprinkling on some fresh ground black pepper for extra zest. chopped chives and tarragon to plain yogurt. Nothing is lighter or cleaner than fresh lemon juice. ideal for special occasions. 2 to 4 cloves of garlic. stews and other recipes. a half cup of fresh parsley leaves. Squeeze fresh lemons into a bowl. Add additional oil until it forms a smooth paste. Add a half cup grated Italian cheese and process a few minutes longer until smooth. add 2 teaspoons white vinegar. Start with 3 to 4 cups of basil leaves. This one takes a little longer and a few more complex ingredients. For variety. stir and store. YOGURT SAUCE. Here's a quick and easy sauce 117 . Reduce heat to low. You can use Pesto to add zing to soups. add 1 cup finely chopped green onions until transparent (but not brown).

ground cardamom. Here's an easy way to make this sauce quickly. it will be a welcome change of pace on your dinner table. typically found in health-food stores. chopped fresh ginger. This sauce is a bit exotic. Add a dash of cayenne pepper. but once you get a craving for it. ALMOND CREAM SAUCE (Korma. Cook for 5 minutes. broiled or 118 . but it's also ideal just by itself over rice or with vegetables. Sautee 3 cups of finely chopped onions in 1 cup of olive oil (or clarified butter. Add salt and pepper to taste. Heat a half cup of chunky peanut butter in a saucepan. 2 tsp. Stir in 1 cup of slivered or ground almonds. and gradually stir in a half cup of water and a half cup of canned coconut milk. Remove from heat and puree in a blender with 2 cups of plain yogurt and a half cup of water. SPICY PEANUT SAUCE. In India. 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley.that is sure to impress. from India).) Stir in 1 clove of garlic. 1 tsp. Add salt (course or sea-salt preferred) to taste. ground cumin and 1 to 1-1/2 ¸tsp. minced very fine. ground fennel. Fry until wilted and pale brown. they serve it over chicken and lamb. buy the all-natural jar of peanut butter. Cook for 10 min. Pour back into sauce pan and cook until thickened. Remove from heat immediately and serve over pasta. (Flavors blend best when sauce is cooled then reheated. Slice 1 lb. more people are discovering that spicy peanut sauce is great on barbecued meats. Add more water slowly until sauce is the right consistency. served as a dipping sauce. Top with grated cheese. but it's much better in the long run. Up for something different? As Thai cooking grows in popularity. it will require stirring. Cook over low heat until the flavors are blended. Stir in 1 cup of heavy cream. Remove from heat and cool at room temperature for 30 minutes or longer. stirring constantly. is much better for cooking than the commercial brands. (I find that the fresh-ground peanut butter. ground coriander. In a clutch. stirring constantly. but that takes extra work) over medium heat. fresh mushrooms (try an egg slicer).) Serve over barbecued. then reheat prior to serving. 3 tsp. vegetables or any core item combination. Stir in a half cup white wine. 2 tsp. Here's a decidedly elegant sauce you'll love as soon as you've tasted it. and add salt & pepper to taste. or just as a side sauce to flavor up any meal. ground red pepper. 1 tsp. stirring constantly. Sautee in a half cup of melted butter until golden. on medium heat.

canola or any cooking oil you prefer). vegetable. buy the inexpensive bottles of red chili flakes at the drug store or 'dollar' store. if desired. ginger. plus 1 cup or more of dry sherry to taste. Soy sauce. 1 tbl. half tsp. 1 tbs. mix 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce). Chinese black vinegar (or 1-1/2 tsp. minced ginger root and 2 tbl.) Slowly add in 3 tblsp. pepper and garlic powder to taste. Blend the tastes. Garnish your dish with fresh cilantro. CHINESE HOT SAUCE. bean sauce (found in Chinese grocery stores). then salt. a hlaf tsp. Add 1 tsp. CHINESE IMPERIAL SAUCE. and cost next to nothing! REMOULADE SAUCE. add 1 tbs dry sherry and a half cup chicken broth. Soy sauce. salt & pepper to taste. sugar. Sesame oil and 1 tsp. The Cajuns in Louisiana use this sauce on all types of seafood and sandwiches. Here's another basic Chinese sauce that you can use to make a range of different menu items. of sugar. cornstarch with a little water to form a liquid paste. Drizzle slowly into sauce to thicken. Mix until blended. (optional. If you are cheap like me.fried chicken. In a small jar. most people prefer no MSG). In a small cup. Here's one that you can make in advance and serve over just about any core ingredient to make a tasty change-of-pace dish. Start with 3 tbl. mix 3/4 cup ketchup. sugar. Heat over medium heat for 5 minutes and serve over your favorite core ingredients. a half tsp. Mix 1 cup of mayonnaise with 1/8 cup Famous Sauce (available at your store. To make hot oil. 1 tsp. hot chili paste. warm water. or more hot oil (see below). Add chopped garlic. HOT CHILI SAUCE. use the oil only and not the peppers. place a handful of dried red peppers in a jar and add oil (olive. Add a dash of MSG for flavor-enhancement. olive oil and beat 119 . When using. 1 tbl. then store your cooled sauce in the refrigerator in a jar and heat in a saucepan prior to adding your core ingredients. finely-chopped ginger. Simply mix the following in a saucepan: 3 tbl. They work great. name brand starts with a “D” and rhymes with turkey. you can make your own hot chili sauce in minutes. or your choice of core ingredient. How do the Chinese make so many different dishes so quickly? The secret is their base sauces. 3 tbl. If you like things on the hot side.

Blend the flour mixture into the melted butter until thickened. Add to your list of sauces. This is also a Cajun recipe. white pepper and 1/8 tsp. Whisk until blended. many sauce recipes you can find in your favorite cookbooks or on the Internet. lemon juice. Simmer until thickened. because they are being harvested now – not 6 months ago. salt. chopped green onions. Heat on low for 5 minutes until blended. Add 1 can cream of mushroom soup and a half cup hot water. Add salt if desired. minced parsley. 3 tbsp. That's because the items that are in most abundant supply – and therefore the lowest in cost – are usually the freshest. As you can see. Blend in 2 tsp. a dash of hot pepper sauce. This recipe uses ingredients you probably have around the house. the variety of sauces you can cook is unlimited. In a small saucepan. nothing beats a complex cream sauce. white pepper and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. dry white wine. each of cayenne pepper. 1/4 tsp. Pour over any core ingredient for a delightful meal. ketchup. and you will find that you can create exciting and varied dishes in minutes – for meals that your family will savor and thank you for again and again! Big Idea Recap – Chapter 17 BIG IDEA 80: CHEAPEST can often mean BEST when it comes to food selections. For sheer elegance. Add 1 tsp. In a small cup. Worcestershire sauce. Add 1 tsp. Bring to a simmer. combine 3/4 cup Butter or margarine.vigorously. Melt a half stick butter in a saucepan. MEUNIERE SAUCE. Louisiana hot sauce. 1/4 tsp. 2 tsp. ULTIMATE CREAM SAUCE. 1 tsp. 120 . dried oregano and dried thyme. Bring to a simmer and then add 6 oz. This is a spicy sauce that some people can't live without. Add 3 tsp. and cooks very quickly. prepared horseradish. beating after each ingredient. ideal over seafood. These are but a few of the many. 3 tsp. 1 tsp. grated parmesan cheese and allow to melt. Add a half cup hot milk and slowly blend in 1 pint sour cream. Creole or 'poupon' mustard and then mix again. mix 2 tablespoons flour with a little hot water until dissolved. 1 tblsp.

BIG IDEA 84: There is not a vegetable on this planet that cannot be cooked hundreds of different ways. You'll cut vast amounts of time out of your cooking procedures. The variety of dishes you can cook for your family are endless. That is why the Italians have been able to make thousands of individual recipes based off of this one vegetable. and in thousands of different combinations with different spices and sauces. Often. you need to buy them while they are on sale. BIG IDEA 85: You can stock up on some FRESH items just like you stock up on canned goods. and that is why it is the mainstay of their diet. or a few pennies worth of seasoning. so 'recipe boredom' does not have to be an issue in your household. You can make hundreds of recipes around the tomato. The higher up this chain that you buy. and excite your family's taste buds. the lower down the chain that you buy. the difference in the preparation time of your meals is just a few short minutes. you need a 'recipe mix' to shake things up. more food volume. and more value than just about any item in your grocery store. BIG IDEA 83: Tomatoes are packed with nutritional value and flavor. so get the bargains whenever you can. as long as you have a method of storing these items. and you'll eat fresh-cooked quality with every meal. You don't need a 'box mix' to add variety to your diet. Prices these days can change from week to week. BIG IDEA 88: Variety is the spice of life. The Irish knew this centuries ago.BIG IDEA 81: Make a large quantity of your core ingredients. If your family is bored with the food you cook. and store them in a way that you can reheat them quickly for individual meals. the less you will pay. BIG IDEA 86: Understand the 'preparation chain' of the foods you buy. spice things up: simple variations on the sauces you use to top your food 121 . A little extra preparation time and changing your cooking methods can make these cuts of meat just as delicious as the higher-priced cuts. BIG IDEA 87: You can lower your meat costs by purchasing cheaper cuts of meat and cooking them differently. But the difference in cost can be significant. and each will be tasty and healthy for your family to eat. the higher the price you will pay. BIG IDEA 82: A large bag of potatoes has more nutrition.

etc. And by using core ingredients as the base (rice. potatoes.can make meals new & exciting again. 122 . noodles. you can keep your food costs low.).

) What is at the core of any non-alcoholic drink? Water. as it's known on the commodities market (Fresh Orange Juice Concentrate. some ice. Tea bags are cheap! You can make fresh-brewed tea in the microwave in minutes and then add ice cubes and sweetener to make your own tea for less. • Fruit juice is very healthy and delicious. and you can make a great daiquiri without paying for those high-priced frozen mixes. that container of 'fresh' juice is actually factoryblended out of "FOJC". and replace it with clean & fresh water out of your own tap. but they cost $1. liter or 2-liter sizes of the brand-name stuff. or if you just don't like them.Chapter 18: Miscellaneous Cost Cutters Here are some random tips for saving money at the grocery store.00 or more at the burger joints. And in many cases. You can also use this method to make summertime adult beverages – mix in a little fresh fruit and lemon or lime as well. DRINKS • Brand-name soft drinks by the can are expensive. because the kids get less 'wired' than with the sugar mixes. but it can also be very expensive. We use the sugar-free varieties. • Kids love slushees. Your money will go a lot farther! • Iced tea by the can or by the jar of mixture can be expensive. It can often be almost 50% less in cost – and some frozen brands taste just as good as fresh. Compare the cost of a half gallon of fresh orange juice to a can of frozen juice that makes a half gallon. $2. Avoid buying drinks that have the water added at the factory. Choose the storebrand.50. and you'll lower the volume and weight of groceries that you have to truck back to your house. 123 . and some pre-sweetened packet drink mix. You can make them at home using a blender. and serve in a glass with ice. You'll avoid a huge mark-up. buy the quart.

you can individually package your own portions and lock them up in a storage closet. here’s the advantage. you’ve spent $6 plus another $2 or $3 in plastic supplies. the ones that use a roll of plastic pouch material. Now. • If you give your kids snacks for school.COOKIES & SNACKS • The store brands of cookies are often as good if not better than the name brands. If you are super-diligent about this. you’re saving $133 or more per year – and best of all you’re keeping the little ones happy. Market it as 'healthier-size portions' and people will pay the mark-up and be glad for it. If you want to implement portion control. You know. than bagging the same portion yourself! PORTION CONTROL The marketing gurus at the food manufacturing companies have latched onto a great idea: package smaller amounts of their product in tiny packets. you can purchase one of those food-saver machines. but instead of spending $20 or more on individual packets. buy the large-size package and divvy the product out into small baggies yourself. With one of these machines. you cut off a section of pouch material. purchase can last for a full month. but lower your total food bill. Let’s say that your kids just absolutely love those chocolate-coated candies. Those small pre-packs of snacks are about three to four times more expensive. melt one edge to seal it in the machine. and then the machine sucks out the air and seals the flap air-tight? They’re really not that expensive to purchase. 124 . and double or triple the cost of the item by weight. because you're paying a wildly-inflated cost for the food inside those packets. You'll accomplish the same goal. if it’s an item you buy every month. but they’re very expensive – and the kids will overeat them if you buy the large economy size. Does it make a difference? Well. The net result: one 5 lb. Plus. AVOID THESE PRODUCTS. because they haven’t had to make any sacrifice. they cost about half as much. by weight. use your own plastic bags and dish out a small portion of these items from a larger bag. fill it with your food.

Does it somehow make you feel cheap? It shouldn’t. So when you're buying household items like laundry detergent. one web site lists a recipe for furniture polish that is made entirely out of olive oil and lemon juice. • Shop at the dollar stores. vinegar. For example. the need to clean. Their homemade version works just as well as the commercial stuff because the lemon juice dissolves the dirt and smudges on the surface while the olive oil shines and protects the wood.. ammonia. – saving you 70% to 80% off the cost of buying the brand-name stuff. when purchased at the “oh so environmenally concious” earth-friendly store will cost you as much as $4. Imagine that – a cheap and effective product that does a better job than the high-priced sprays! 125 . many of these items will actually be environmenally-friendly. rubbing alcohol. oven cleaner. buy the big container and use a coupon. You’ll find that many of the home-made products will actually be better for your home and for the environment. etc. or log onto one of the many websites that show you how to make clone – copies of brand – name cleaning products yourself. dishwasher soap. which can seep into the cracks in the wood and cause problems if you ever decide to refinish the wood. the kind that uses citric acid as the main cleaning ingredient – and it only cost $1. you guessed it – a dollar! And the remarkable thing is. You’ll find a treasure-trove of cleaning supplies at the dollar store for the remarkable price of. bathroom cleaner. etc. It should make you feel smarter. and by buying big you won't be running out as often. They claim that most commercial polishes and sprays use silicone oil. This same type of product. etc... Just do a web search on “homemade cleaning supplies” and you'll find dozens of sites offering recipes for cleaners that you can make for a fraction of the cost of the name-brand versions. baking soda.79! So you’re reducing your cost by over 75% by purchasing at the cheapskate store. Many of these items such as window-washing solution.CLEANING SUPPLIES • One thing will never change.. can be made out of a combination of water. • Read the 'Hints from Heloise' column in your newspaper. I found a huge bottle of orange spray cleaner – you know. this stuff won't go bad.

Just keep a plastic bag in your pantry or kitchen drawer and clip these coupons all year long – even if you don't have school-age kids. you simply clip the little coupon that is printed on the packaging and collect them. buy a bunch of everything and drive it out to the animal shelter or ASPCA. One of the best and largest grocery-related programs around is "Boxtops for Education" sponsored by General Mills. based on the number of coupons that the school turns in for credit. And if you happen to find pet food or pet supplies on close-out. and they will certainly appreciate your thoughtfulness. you'll find these coupons on dozens of different products you buy every week. consider buying a few extras for the less fortunate. There are many people who could benefit from your shopping activities. SUPER BARGAINS • Often you will find that your store is discontinuing an item. Every town and city has a center that accepts food and household items for the poor. Since General Mills is such a large manufacturer and distributor of food products.Make your own cleaning solutions and you can easily save $20 or $30 per month off your grocery bill. Each one is worth about 10 cents towards school supplies or educational equipment. And that brings up another very important point: saving money to help others. but the proceeds that your local schools can receive from it are huge. The program costs you nothing extra. Many of these home-made products actually work better than the store brands as well. You could collect enough over one year's time to provide $20 or $30 worth of educational supplies for your local schools. and will put it on sale for pennies on the dollar to clear it out quickly. Helping to provide a 126 . When you see bargains like this. Help Your Community with Coupons – Even If You Won't Personally Benefit. too – and their caretakers never get enough money or support to provide the animals with everything that’s needed. It helps local schools get free or discounted educational supplies. Our furry friends need help. With this program.

what's the point? Life is too short. there are many other community groups that could benefit from the discounts and bargains you are able to achieve through proper shopping techniques. Spending less money on food does NOT mean you have to buy lower quality items. I would recommend buying a smaller portion of the better quality items and consuming less. But if you find yourself buying inferior products just to save a few pennies. you can enjoy the finest items in the store for a fraction of the everyday retail price. and you'll lower the volume and weight of groceries that you have to truck back to your house. It will be more enjoyable in the long run. you can be a hero by purchasing one or two extra items and donating them to the food bank. Of course. Buy concentrated juices and powdered drinks. QUALITY • It needs to be said that nothing substitutes for good quality. If you find yourself buying inferior products or lowering your standards in the quality of the food you buy. If you see a clear-cut difference in the quality of an item. you're not using the system correctly. chances are the item is well worth the price they are asking for. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 18 BIG IDEA 89: Cut down on drinks that have water added at the factory. Value is not as important as providing the best quality for your family so price should not be your only motivation when shopping. 127 . and the higherpriced item is definitely of better quality. Food banks collect canned goods and non-perishable items for distribution to hungry families throughout your area.better education for our children is something we can all be proud of. If you follow the methods outlined in this book. One immediate idea is to see if you have a Second Harvest or other food bank in your area. Rather than sacrifice quality. It's easy to enjoy BETTER food and pay LESS money if you follow the steps outlined in this book. and you and your family are too important to settle for second best. You'll avoid a huge mark-up. When you do see an incredible bargain on a particular item.

Many of these homemade products can actually work better than the name brands! BIG IDEA 92: Quality of life is important. or if you are especially resourceful. You'll help out your community and store up some good karma while you're at it. Use the tips in this book to buy top-quality products for less. get a food-saver machine and make air-tight pouches for longterm use. Or simply buy extra nonperishable items when you see them on super-sale and donate them to your local foodbank. 128 . BIG IDEA 93: Be an "angel" and participate in free programs such as "Boxtops for Education" that help others. and therefore the quality of the products you purchase and use is also important. Saving money does NOT have to equate to settling for less. consider buying the large economy-size package of a product and doling out the portions yourself.BIG IDEA 90: If you want to provide portion-controlled servings. You can use plastic bags. BIG IDEA 91: Make your own cleaning solutions and you can easily shave $20 or $30 per month off your grocery bill.

it is clear that you are being profiled every step of the way. You'll find dozens – if not HUNDREDS – of coupons that you can print immediately. The website asked for two answers prior to receiving 129 . Plus. and your answers will become part of a compiled database file on the members of your household. Value – with a Cost. one offer I came across was for chocolate powder that kids use to flavor their milk. It's like having a part-time job that pays you $40 or $50 an hour. Be wary.$30 or more in savings. Use the internet to your advantage BEFORE you go food shopping. always skew your answers in the direction the marketers are looking for. there are so many loopholes and 'trusted partners' who get your information. You should be aware that many of these ‘free coupon’ sites are really consumer survey / information-gathering portals for the food manufacturing industry. Repeat this for all of the other main products you will be shopping for. do not participate in their surveys. The site will ask you a wide range of personal questions about your household. only you're not working: you're having fun. If you need a coupon for peanut butter. But if you read their Privacy Policy. Here is a trick: if you are required to answer questions about your usage of a product prior to your printing the coupon. A half-hour spent searching for coupons can easily reap $20 . and will not be shared with third party firms. and provide the minimum amount of answers required to get to the coupons on their site. For instance. run a web search for "Peanut Butter Coupon".Chapter 19: Online Coupon Hunting If you have access to the Internet. you can get some great coupons online. One site promises that your data remains safe. if you find a coupon for a product your family uses a lot. and if you are concerned about privacy and "Big Brother" knowing too much about you and your family. you can print off as many as you like.

Because the same offer was made at the two largest grocery chains.” I discovered something surprising about this. I entered my Zip Code to get the local offers. ignore this if you find it confusing. but you currently use a competing brand.the coupon: 1. It’s actually a ploy they use to REMOVE the coupons for items that are already on local promotion in your area. How many of these instances involved the brand name featured in the coupon? I answered the maximum in each case. but it sure appeared to me that the food . How many times per week does your household use milk flavorings? 2. Here’s another trick: Some of these online sites will ask you to enter your Zip Code to find “local savings. you are almost certain to get the maximum value coupon available on the site that day. How do I know this? Recently.) I logged in using a Zip Code from another state. it was apparent that this was a major push to get people to try these products at the start of the fall/winter “hot food” season. and the potato coupon disappeared from the list. and I was quickly routed to a 'technical malfunction' page that said the coupon could not be printed at this time. (techie note only. I tend to be cynical. Why do you suppose that would happen? Answer: they didn't want to cannibalize their profits from a current customer. two of my local stores had a namebrand line of potato mixes on BOGO. I went to my favorite online coupon site and saw a 40¢ coupon for this item on page 1 of the site. I thought it was an error. This way. Just to see what would happen. These are the box mixes of augratin or scalloped potatoes. ALWAYS say that you are interested in the featured product and would like to try it. Guess what? No potato coupon was found! Just out of curiosity (and frantic to get my potato coupon) I logged in using a different browser (Internet Explorer instead of Firefox) so there would be no ‘cookies’ stored for my account. and guess what – the potato coupon reappeared! 130 Now. so I logged out and logged back in again. So when you encounter these 'surveys'.

so you can cut a stack of pages all at once and the coupons will all be trimmed out correctly! 131 .65 ($1. etc. Just be aware that they are partnered with dozens of information-compiling sites.29 per box $0. Here are some coupon sites to visit. The easiest way to do this is to “select all” and print. Here’s why: Normal price of item Cost per item using only the BOGO offer Cost per item using BOGO offer AND the doubled coupon $1. Eversave. But then the payoff was huge: 82 coupons were available to pick and choose. medicine.29 total for 2 boxes) $0. and some tips on getting the best coupon values on each site.25 ($1. you will instantly be signed up for a wide array of offers.com. and unless you uncheck the requests on their pages. This site will make you work hard to get to the coupons – but it’s worth the effort. I was asked to review and “accept” or “skip” about 8 lengthy offers for insurance.com. On a recent visit.) Moral of the story: you may want to avoid asking for “local savings” coupons if you really want to save more money locally. CoolSavings. Read the fine print carefully and uncheck all offers before proceeding. they’ll typically double every coupon that is within their accepted value range (any coupon under 50¢ at my local store.80 for 2 boxes) Of course. the internet coupon was marked “Do Not Double”. This site features about 20 to 30 coupons per week on all types of consumer products. or you will forever be inundated with emails and marketing offers.manufacturer didn’t want me using both the doubled coupon AND the BOGO offer.29 minus $0. magazines. But I know from experience that most stores ignore this request because they want to please the customer. They even put the coupons in the same position on each page.

you can plan your savings over time. Thecouponclippers. But overall. so you should be a very avid coupon user to cover the startup fee. CentsOff. and you get to choose by specific brand names. you have to agree to complete a very lengthy survey and tell them everything about yourself – in great detail.OnlineCoupons. so if your family is a big consumer of a particular item. This site offers pre-clipped coupons. this site has a huge selection of coupons at very reasonable prices. Coupons. on items that your family is very likely to want and use – items like popular cereal brands. The drawback is that you have to pay to save. Times. You can order multiples of the same coupon. gourmet food items. Here..com. personal and cleaning products and more.com.95 annual fee however. as well as the number of coupons currently available and the expiration date. I would recommend this site if you are buying for a community group such as your Boy Scout 132 . plus a 50¢ administration fee. This site requires you to register with minimal information. the Baltimore Sun. Plus. you don’t have to do all that clipping… Clipngocoupons. up until the expiration date of the coupon. but you do pay for each coupon.25 to receive up to 50 coupons by return mail. plus you must install their printer drivers to print coupons. They offer a large number of coupons at very good price points. Plus. it displays the specific coupons available by category.50 fee to join. On this site. This site requires that you pay a $7. and that just kind of goes against the grain of true cheapskates.com. so you will be directed here from many other sites.A. etc. This site is well organized.com. You select the coupons online and receive them in the mail within 7 to 10 business days. A good site to visit often! NOTE: this site is rebranded by local newspapers such as the L. Fees typically range from 5¢ to 15¢. There is a $99. One annoying thing about this site is that on coupons that cost you 5¢. the shopping cart changes the quantity to 5 – even if you only selected 1. then pay an additional $8. you can stock up on the specific coupon. You have to go through quite a bit of mumbo-jumbo before you ever get to the coupons.com. you don’t pay an annual fee.

too! Fatwallet. You are required to provide specific household information to sign up. 133 . and all the rebates and coupons to make it happen at the lowest possible price. MyClipper. however.com for grocery discounts." GroceryDiscounts. with comments from people who have claimed them or have comments about the offer. rebates and regional offers posted here. value and guidance. Plus. Plus. There are no grocery coupons on this site. The site simply links to EverSave. etc. "FatWallet's mission is to serve consumers with knowledge.Troop or church social group. I was impressed at the high coupon values and diversity of local establishments participating on this site.com. This is a great site for sharing coupon tips and techniques with people from across the country.S. The food industry giants monitor this site. entertainment.com. You'll find 'hot deals' on coupons. shopping. many leading to the sites listed above. especially when a consumer posts a complaint here. so it may be disappointing if you are looking for printable grocery coupons. when you plan to make multiple purchases of specific items over the long term. Thefrugalshopper. The site features a surprising number of local coupons that you can print out and redeem for discounts on dining.com. they provide valuable information about what offers are good and not so good. As posted on their site. This site maintains a large number of links to coupon values. It means that you sign up on line and then you receive an email that you must respond to if you want to get to the online coupons. because you will regularly find responses from the PR departments of the big companies. but also some unique freestanding sites great for rebate-searching. This site uses a double opt-in validation process. But visit it. Members of this site post information about hot deals and web sites where you can download coupons. This is the author’s web site. and see what you think. We offer many links to the best savings of the week. so I really can’t toot my own horn. It's like having 230.000 friends to ask advice from.us. You are not the only consumer that wants to save money on groceries. you can get valuable tips from hundreds of other value-conscious shoppers across the U.

Millions of people today have to count pennies to stay afloat. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 19 BIG IDEA 94: Use the internet to your advantage BEFORE you go food shopping. Join some of the ‘blogs’ (web logs) related to cost-cutting. BIG IDEA 95: Use the internet to capture tips & techniques from other shoppers. and make a new friend. you might just meet a kindred spirit on one of the blog sites. Plus. Knowledge = cash savings for you. 134 . and share your successes with other value-minded individuals. Chances are. You can benefit from their experiences and wisdom by searching the internet and reading about their tips & techniques. you’ll learn some great money-saving tips that you can use over and over again. You'll find dozens – if not HUNDREDS – of coupons that you can print and redeem immediately.

is that you're definitely going to be spending more time at your local grocery store. Here are a few ways you can become a more courteous shopper and make everyone's shopping experience more pleasant. It was Honore De Balzac who said. and pull your cart off to the side before you get in the line. This certainly brings us to the issue of your fellow shoppers. but you're going to get to know your local store pretty well.Chapter 20: Grocery Store Etiquette One thing to bear in mind as you implement these saving techniques we've discussed. Okay. Unfortunately you'll find this to be the case among the people sharing the aisles of your grocery store. and either doesn't know – or doesn't care – that other people are shopping in the store at the same time. take a glance around every so often to see if anyone is waiting nearby. Shelf Surfing. if you're waiting in line at the butcher or deli counter. But you can demonstrate proper courtesy yourself and hope that some of it wears off on others. you'll probably be blocking a few dozen shoppers during that time. When you're not moving. If it's in the middle of the aisle and you'll probably be waiting in line for 5 minutes or longer. you might only be spending a little more time than you do already. Similarly. Take a minute to think of other shoppers. one way or another. two or more people will need the exact same item on the exact same shelf at the exact same time. As it often goes with Murphy's Law. So if you see someone lurking nearby. If you're taking a particularly long time to review the products on the shelf. People's behavior in the grocery store is a mirror reflection of their attitude towards others. Nothing is more frustrating that waiting behind someone who is stopped in the middle of the aisle. Cart Courtesy. You can't teach a stranger what their mama was unable to many years ago. they're 135 . be aware of where you left your cart. "Courtesy is only a thin veneer on the general selfishness". pull your cart over to the side of the aisle so others may pass.

If you’re certain that you are entitled to the lower price or the coupon redemption. “oh oh – I think the scanner took the original price and not the sale price. Your fellow shoppers will be very appreciative. don’t pitch a fit or blame the cashier: offer to fix it at the Customer Service counter after you check out. Can we check the sale flyer to see if I’ve got the right item?” In other words. she’s there to help you.. Cashier Courtesy. They’re just people. Plus. It’s important to mention that the cashier at your local grocery store is working to feed his or her family. if you’re wrong. as will your cashier. and simply walk away from the service counter. the cashier is NOT trying to rip you off. the cashiers will have you pegged as a ‘problem customer’ which is not a good way to make friends or get preferential treatment when you shop. So your 5-minute excursion to the service counter could save you a few extra dollars. put the blame on the computer and not on the poor cashier who is just doing his or her job. So give her a break. like you and me. apologize. Plus. If you have a discrepancy on a price. They’re not there to represent the ‘big bad grocery store chain’ or ‘big corporate food manufacturers’. as well. “hey – you’re trying to rip me off!”. okay? Wrong Price / Wrong Coupon. try. don’t jump down their throat: mention that there is an issue with the price that the scanner has entered.probably waiting for you to move. It makes for a more pleasant exchange. they’ll never let you live it down. it reflects poorly on her if she’s got a situation with an irate customer. 136 . If there is a huge line at your grocery store and the scanner simply won’t ring up the correct price or accept your coupon. But if you try to resolve the situation in the checkout line and hold the other shoppers up for 5 minutes or so.. So make your choice and move on. Plus. Instead of. and she wants your shopping visit to be pleasant. needless to say (but I’m going to say it anyway). trying to make it through their shift. Here’s another value-shopping tip for you: most stores have a ‘no error’ policy that will give you one of the sale item FREE if their system rings up the wrong price. And. you can accept your error. take it up with a customer service representative after you finish paying for your groceries. So give them a break.

walk over to the customer service counter after you’ve paid. it can pay to NOT mention it to cashier. You may get one item free if the pricing error was caused by the store’s computer. Instead. 137 .Big Idea Recap – Chapter 20 BIG IDEA 96: If you notice a price discrepancy at the cash register.

138 .

at the same time you are saving money using the tips and techniques found in this book. you can get the price-saving advantage of shopping at ALL of the stores in your are. so they don't have to search for the price. In other words. This may be one of the only loss-leaders they advertise for the week. This makes it easier for the cashier to find the prices. But the fun – and the savings – don’t have to end there. that store “A” has put the large size of laundry detergent on sale. regular price $7. but you won’t have to burn up your valuable time and gasoline to visit these stores. If you take store “A’s” flyer to store “W”. This information can be used to your advantage in many ways. There are many coupons that offer an item for free but they also indicate that the cashier must write the purchase price on the coupon. Let’s call them store “W” and affectionately nickname them “Wally World. One of America’s largest discounters offers a unique value proposition.” This particular store will match their competitor’s advertised sale price on the exact same item. Free & BOGO Coupon Presentment Order. you can purchase this same item for $3. many 139 . Store “A” has the goal of getting you to come in for that one bargain. but purchase the rest of your weekly food needs at their regular store prices. This one tip alone can shave $20 or $30 off your weekly food bill.99 but this week it’s on sale for $3. A cashier recently told me something about the processing of 'free' and 'BOGO' coupons. Let’s say. for example. The bad news is.Chapter 21: Miscellaneous Time-Saving / Money-Saving Tips Here are some ways to save time at the grocery store.99 – all the while taking advantage of store “W’s” other low prices. You can also take flyers from store “B” and from store “C” and “D” into store “W”. The cashier asked me to always hand them the coupon at the same time they are scanning the free item. A good tip is to put those items LAST on the conveyor belt. They'll really appreciate your effort! Competitive Price-Matching. and put the free and BOGO coupons FIRST on your stack of coupons.99.

you will consistently find yourself paying less for food because you have changed the way you shop. when you need those three or four items. I’m not suggesting that you ONLY buy the price-match items at store “W. If you habitually follow even a few of these money-saving tips. I find it very beneficial to scan the grocery flyer from my local store. I may find only three or four coupons. but when I'm breezing in to Acme for my 10-minute kamikaze shopping blitz. In time.” That wouldn’t be fair to them. but they are the best bargains for that day in that store. "Acme Grocery". Now. and then I do a quick perusal of my grocery coupon envelopes to see if I have matching coupons.e. you probably want to breeze in and breeze out of the grocery store. i. You’ll just have to do the math yourself to decide which stores in your area offer the best final-cost pricing on the items you need. 140 . All this is great. Most of the time. Speed Shopping. And honestly. I locate the sale items. You're probably a wiz at the 'self-scan' aisle and know how to shave minutes off your trip. I run by and pick up those three or four sale items that I have coupons for. The net result: I experience savings of 40% or 50% on my total order that day. they don't know any other way. you will save money on food. You're in a huge rush at 4 p. If you only need three or four items to complete your meal on a Sunday afternoon. But you're relaxed and taking your time at 8 a.m.m. Paying full retail for food is a bad habit. The secret to accomplishing BOTH of these goals is to do a little pre-planning. It only takes an extra two or three minutes to pick them up. I pull out the coupons and place them in the envelope I've got named specifically for that store. many times the net cost of items at store “W” are lower with single-value redemption on coupons that they are at competing stores with double-value redemption. when you're reading the Sunday paper. and it's one that 90% of all shoppers fall into. when I would have otherwise experienced savings of probably 0% had I not taken the extra few minutes to scarf up these values.stores like store “W” do not double your coupon’s value. Make Saving a Habit. but it can be very costly if you don't time to shop for bargains or take advantage of the in-store sales on that particular day.

Never Settle for Poor Quality. or even just a few square feet on the side of your driveway. If you have a patio or deck. the grocers expect a certain amount of 'breakage' as it's known in the trade. etc. taste horrible. So if you pick up a bag of mixed vegetables for $1 or $2. you will purchase an item that will either have gone bad. Tomatoes grow very well in a large bucket – and you can often find the large 5-gallon plastic pails thrown away behind restaurants or in the recycling bin. cilantro. you can cook them up in a pressure cooker and make a delicious soup in less than an hour. Now you're asking me to put on bib overalls and farm the back 40? What are you. write a quick letter to the manufacturer and tell them so. return it to the store for a new one. it's nothing like that. Okay. So it was well worth my time to complain. Grow Your Own Vegetables and Herbs. and use them to make a pot of soup! Monday's are good days for grocery stores to clear out their leftover inventory from the weekend. If you like gourmet cooking. because my personal focus group is pretty reliably when it comes to evaluating kid's foods. I know what you're thinking: I barely have time to zip through the grocery store. You can also find meat that is expiring and on-sale 141 . to take things out of the recycling bin? No! You are doing better than recycling – you are re-using!). and they all spit it out. you can grow your own tomatoes or green beans and save lots of money on fresh vegetables. So I wrote a note to the manufacturer and told them that they needed to reformulate or at least re-think the product.00 off coupons for their other products. he spit it out. The manufacturer wrote me back and send me three $1. Try it. CRAZY??? No. actually. nothing is better than fresh basil. Even their friend who weighs 300 lbs and regularly cleans out my refrigerator of all leftovers. Turn this to your advantage. or just not be usable. Start a Soup Night. You might be surprised at how easy it is to grow your own herbs and save on the cost of buying them fresh. – and these grow very well in small pots that you can put on a window sill. If the item is in fine condition but you just think it's nasty-tasting. Once in a blue moon. thyme. Every grocery store has vegetables that are reaching their peak and must be sold quickly. parsley. I recently bought a juice item for my kids. If it's defective. (Is that unethical.

you will habitually save on food. Take advantage and cook it all up together with a few spices. If you make bargain-grabbing a habit. without the added cost or time of actually driving to all of these stores. write letters: you'll get satisfaction in the end – and probably save a few extra bucks as well. By taking the other store’s sales flyers into the big-box store. using your breadmaker. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 21 BIG IDEA 97: Some big-box grocers offer to match competitive store’s sales prices. 142 . that is still absolutely fresh and good to eat that day but must be sold by the store before midnight to comply with basic regulations. you can enjoy the best values from every store in your area. That's up to $360 savings per year – plus you'll eat better and tastier meals. get your money back or get a replacement. BIG IDEA 99: You never have to pay for items that truly are unusable. you can not only save money – you can prepare them into a delicious. If they're defective. welcome meal that your family will love and look forward to every week. BIG IDEA 101: Bargain meats and vegetables are still very edible and nutritious. Bake a loaf of fresh bread the night before. If they're just poorly made or you are completely dissatisfied with them. the store couldn't sell them if they weren't. you will see a consistent and ongoing reduction in your net cost of food. By learning how to prepare these items quickly.for fi the price or less. and you have a gourmet treat that's easy on the budget as well. BIG IDEA 98: If you get in the habit of ALWAYS picking up a bargain or two EVERY TIME you visit the grocery store. BIG IDEA 100: A few minutes per day invested in growing your own vegetables and herbs can easily save you $20 or $30 per month. It makes a terrific dinner.

May your coupon-cutting scissors remain sharp. You can shop quickly and efficiently. regardless of how time-challenged you are. delicious meals that can improve their health and you can save lots of money in the process. You can feed your family for less and enjoy nutritious. and you don't have to pay top dollar to get the finest groceries available in the store.Closing Notes Well. I hope that the ideas presented here have given you a new outlook on food and cooking in general. and your piggybanks remain full! 143 . there you have it. Good shopping to you all. You don't have to settle for second best.

Free Standing inserts.Manufacturer MFR .instore smartsource coupon dispensed near product.Do Not Double (the coupon is not supposed to be doubled) Double coupon .Refunds that require only a UPC# written on a CRT Coufund . Also referred to as SS coupons or insert coupons. zip code NB .Cash register tape DCRT.Hot Deal Alert or Home Delivered Ad HT or HgT.Dated cash register tape with the price circled DND .National Brand Qualifier 144 .manufacturer's coupons CRT .National Brand NBQ .In search of LTD .Name. address.Limited. These are the actual term to the coupons you get in your Sunday newspaper.Hope this helps ISO .coupon dispensed at register after purchase. usually from red blinking box BOGO or B1G1 .GLOSSARY Guide to refunding and couponing terms : Blinkies .for coupons that need some proof of purchase such as UPC's attached Cpns . usually has a red border C/O .coupon that a grocery store doubles in value Free Item Coupon .cents off coupon Codes . HBA .Premiums that require money in addition to a proof of purchase NAZ .A coupon that allows you to get the product completely free FSI .Hang tags for refunds or coupons hanging on a product HTH .Manufacturer Money + .Dated cash register tape DCRTC .Buy one get one free Catalina . as on a refund form it will say you're limited to a certain number of purchases MFG .The health and beauty aid section in the grocery store HDA .

Random act of kindness SF .The POP required for a refund offer that is physically taken from that package RAOK . a $1 coupon = $2.refund form found in a newspaper NT WT .specially marked packages SS .while supplies last YMMV .) 145 .coupons that are doubled $1 + in value (ie.No expiration date Nfp . any size OSI .Store form SMP .Try Me Free Triple coupon .Your Mileage May Vary (Success of offer is variable.a coupon that is good on one purchase.Sunday supplement coupons (FSI) Super doubles .On a single item POP .Paypal handling fee Q or Qualifier.proof of purchase PP .Universal Product Code WSL . etc) SWEEPS .A pad of refund forms found hanging from a store shelf or display TMF .sweepstakes form Tear pad .NED .a coupon that a grocery store triples in value UPC .net weight OAS .purchase price PPHF .

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000 to $5.500 in savings per year! And if you’re spending $200 or $300 per week – you can easily save $3. Understanding how to leverage the grocery manufacturer’s promotional cycles AISLE MASTERY. this book will show you how easy it is to actually IMPROVE your menu and INCREASE meal satisfaction – all while PAYING LESS CASH each week for groceries. You will learn the inside secrets that the food industry doesn’t want you to know – and how you can harness that knowledge to beat them at their own game.000 per year. Your family will love the results – and so will your budget! RANDALL PUTALA is a career advertising executive that has worked for some of America’s largest agencies including BBDO. and Allied Graphic Arts. 101 simple action steps that you can learn in minutes If your family spends $100 or more on food per week. FKB Group PLC. retailers and financial institutions. . How to use coupon doubling and store promotions to maximize savings STAYING IN SEASON.THIS DEFINITIVE GUIDE to saving money on groceries is a godsend to families who struggle to make ends meet. You can shop smarter even if you’re always in a hurry LEVERAGE.even 50% or more on groceries TAKING SIMPLE STEPS. within days of reading this book you can start saving a minimum of $30 per week – all while eating tastier and more nutritious meals. How to think like a chef to get the best shopping values on any given day SYSTEMATIC SAVINGS. His clients have included many of the nation’s largest manufacturers. Discover the system that can save you 30% .40% . If you’ve tried ‘skimping’ on quality or selection just to lower your costs. a non-profit foundation dedicated to solving the world hunger crisis. and develop lifelong money-saving habits such as: MAKING BETTER CHOICES. You will learn how to completely re-shape your approach to food. That’s at least $1. Selecting core ingredients rather than paying for high-priced ‘pre-mixed’ items THINKING LIKE A MARKETER. Buying the best for less than the ‘off brands’ SMARTER COOKING. This is real money that you can bankroll to make life-changing differences in your family’s lives. Putala is also the founding director of World Hunger Team. Inside the pages of “Better Groceries for Less Cash” you will quickly learn and master the simple techniques of value buying.

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